Rule 54(b) Certification Improper Where Ruling Did Not Dispose Of All Aspects of Claim

In Alfa Mutual Ins. Co. v. Bone, [Ms. 1061808, 1061834] (Ala. Jan. 9, 2009), the Alabama Supreme Court dismissed an appeal based on an improper Rule 54(b) certification where the order did not dispose of all aspects of the declaratory judgment claim.  Disposing of some, but not all, issues raised by a claim does not support a Rule 54(b) certification.

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Rule 54(b) certification improper, so appeal is dismissed

The Court of Civil Appeals found that a Rule 54(b) certification was improper and thus dismissed the appeal in Owen v. Hopper, Ms. 2070016 (Ala. Civ. App, May 23, 2008) .  In a property line dispute, the Court of Civil Appeals found that the judgment on the counterclaim which was certified as final was really a defense to the underlying tort claim.  The court found that the claim and counterclaim were too intertwined to support a 54(b) certification, and, therefore, the appeal had to be dismissed.