Appeal From “Interim Judgment” Dismissed as From Non-Final Judgment

The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals recently dismissed an appeal from an "interim judgment" ordering the plaintiff’s employer to provide medical treatment for injuries she sustained in the line and scope of employment.  Read more about SouthernCare, Inc. v. Margaret Cowart, No. 2071117 below.

On June 24, 2008, the Calhoun Circuit Court entered an "interim judgment" determining that Margaret Cowart’s injuries had occurred within the line and scope of her employment with SouthernCare, Inc., and ordering that SouthernCare authorize Dr. James White to treat her for those injuries. 

SouthernCare filed a motion challenging the "interim judgment" on July 23, 2008; that motion was denied by the trial court on August 4, 2008.  After an unsuccessful mandamus petition, SouthernCare filed a timely appeal from the denial of its motion directed to the "interim judgment."  Cowart argued that the appeal was due to be dismissed because it was an attempt to appeal from a non-final judgment.  She relied on Judge Thompson’s opinion concurring in the result in Ex parte Publix Super Markets, Inc., 963 So.2d 654, 661:

In Homes of Legend, Inc. v. O’Neal, 855 So.2d 536 (Ala. Civ. App. 2003), this court determined that an order that held an employer liable for an injured employee’s medical treatment was not sufficiently final to support an appeal….The trial court’s September 15, 2006, order, because it required Publix to provide medical treatment for the employee, was, in essence, a determination of the compensability of the employee’s injury.  No other rights of the parties were addressed…and, therefore, that order was not a final judgment capable of supporting an appeal. 

The Court of Civil Appeals found that Homes of Legend controlled SouthernCare’s appeal and dismissed it was from a non-final judgment.