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Civil Procedure/Appellate Jurisdiction: Appeal from Non-Final Judgment Pursuant to Statute

Posted by Ted A. Schmidt | Aug 19, 2016 | 0 Comments

Brumett v. MGA Home Healthcare, LLC, 744 Ariz. Adv. Rep. 11 (App. Div. I, July 28, 2016) (J. Thumma)

PERFECTING STATUTORY APPEAL FROM NON-FINAL JUDGMENT DOES NOT REQUIRE 54(b) or (c) LANGUAGE

In these consolidated cases the Arizona Court of Appeals addressed this question of first impression: Must there be Ariz. R. Civ. Pro. 54(b) or (c) language in a non-final judgment or order for it to be appealable when the right to appeal is created independently of these rules by statute?

The appellate courts' jurisdiction is created by statute. A.R.S. §12-2101(A)(1) provides that final  judgments are appealable. However, to perfect an appeal from a final judgment rule 54 must be complied with. Rule 54(c) provides that "[a] judgment shall not be final unless the court states that no further matters remain pending and that the judgment is entered pursuant to Rule 54(c)." Rule 54(b) provides that a superior court may "direct the entry of final judgment as to one or more but fewer than all of the claims or parties" in a case "upon an express determination that there is no just reason for delay and upon an express direction for the entry of [a final] judgment."

Accordingly, an appeal from a final judgment, probate judgment, decree or order requires 54((b) or (c) language to be appealable. 

There are however, a number of other statutes that allow  for an appeal of non-final judgements. Neither Rule 54(b) nor Rule 54(c) apply to rulings that are not "final judgments" but are independently appealable by statute. The following appeals do not require rule 54(b) or (c) language to be appealable:

  • Appeal from a special order after judgment (A.R.S. §12-2101(A)(2)
  • Appeal from an interlocutory judgment under A.R.S. §122101(A)(6), (7) And (8)-- judgment for an accounting, partition or redeeming real or personal property from a mortgage or lien, does not require 54(b) or (c) language.
  • A.R.S. §12-2101 (A)(3), (4), (5)(a)-(d), (10) And (11)  authorizing appeals from orders on specified pre- or post-judgment requests for relief such as a motions for new trial, dissolving attachments and garnishments, injunctions, insanity, incompetency, right to own a firearm
  • Appeal from orders concerning arbitration awards under A.R.S. §12-2101.01(A)
  • A.R.S. §121873(A) Appeal of decision to certify or deny certification of a class action
  • A.R.S. §12-913 review of administrative decisions

About the Author

Ted A. Schmidt

Ted's early career as a trial attorney began on the other side of the fence, in the offices of a major insurance defense firm. It was there that Ted acquired the experience, the skills and the special insight into defense strategy that have served him so well in the field of personal injury law. Notable among his successful verdicts was the landmark Sparks vs. Republic National Life Insurance Company case, a $4.5 million award to Ted's client. To this day, it is the defining case for insurance bad faith, and yet it is only one of several other multi-million dollar jury judgments won by Ted during his career. He is certified by the State Bar of Arizona as a specialist in "wrongful death and bodily injury litigation".

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