Madrid v. Avalon Care Center – Chandler, L.L.C. – 11/18/2014

December 1, 2014

Arizona Court of Appeals Division One holds that the inclusion of Rule 54(c) language in a judgment that does not resolve all claims by all parties is not a final judgment over which the court may exercise appellate jurisdiction.

This case addresses a straightforward issue of appellate jurisdiction.  Plaintiff brought suit against defendants, alleging three causes of action.  The superior court granted defendants’ motion to compel arbitration as to certain claims and granted defendants’ motions for summary judgment as to the remaining claims.  The court then entered a judgment stating that judgment was entered on all claims not dismissed and “[t]here being no further matters pending, final judgment is entered pursuant to” Rule 54(c).

The Court of Appeals determined that it lacked jurisdiction over the appeal.  Although the superior court judgment stated that all claims had been resolved, certain claims remained outstanding and subject to arbitration.  The Court held that simply including Rule 54(c) language in a judgment that does not resolve all claims is not a final appealable judgment.  The Court also denied plaintiff’s attempt to suspend the appeal to allow the superior court to enter a Rule 54(b) judgment because the judgment did not include any Rule 54(b) language and the Court did not otherwise have jurisdiction over the appeal.  

Judge Thumma delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Presiding Judge Downie and Judge Gould joined.