Appellate Jurisdiction and the Final Judgment Rule Case: Parties: Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. v. Wetzel (1976, U.S.) [p.

628-634] Plaintiff - Wetzel (Respondent) Defendant - Liberty Mutual (Petitioner)

Procedural History: Facts: • Wetzel filed a complaint against Liberty Mutual for discrimination in violation of Civil Rights Act of 1964 § After extensive discovery, Wetzel moved for partial summary judgment on the issue of liability, and court granted it § Although Wetzel rec'd a favorable ruling, they didn’t received the relief they had asked for - that is, an injunction, damages, and attorney's fees. • District court ruled in favor of Wetsel on the issue of Liberty's liability under that Act (partial summary judgment), and purported to direct entry of Final judgment pursuant to Rule 54(b) on the issue of liability. • Liberty appealed the ruling of partial summary judgment. Appellate Court held that it had jurisdiction for the appeal under §1291, and affirmed lower court's judgment. • Supreme Court granted certiorari. • Supreme Court vacated appellate court's judgment b/c the district court's order was not appealable to the Court of Appeals (a matter of jurisdiction), and dismissed Liberty's appeal from the order of the district court. Issue: Whether the partial summary judgment was appealable, so then whether the appellate court had jurisdiction. No. Holding: Reasoning: • Rule 54(b) - required to enter a final judgment. Without it, the trial court would not have finally adjudicated a separate claim for purposes of appeal. § But, Rule 54(b) does not apply to a single claim action. It is limited expressly to multiple claims actions in which 'one or more but less that all' of the multiple claims have been finally decided and are found otherwise to be ready for appeal.' Since there was only one legal theory applies to one set of facts, even though Pls sought multiple remedies, Rule 54(b) was inapplicable. § Therefore, the order was unappealable pursuant to §1291. RULE: A grant of partial summary judgment on the issue of liability (and not other issues in the case) is an interlocutory order and is not appealable. • Final Judgment Rule § 1291 Order was unappealable.

Notes • P get an order, saying Liberty mutual policy is illegal, declaring liability, and issuing an order in accordance with Rule 54b that there's no reason to delay the judgment. Unfortunately, Rule 54b doesn’t apply to this action. Rule only applies to multiple claims or multiple parties. Here on party brought one claim, so rule doesn’t apply.

• Rule 56c - specifically defines summary judgment on the issue of liability as interlocutory in character § Interlocutory - means during the course of the proceedings § If you give a summary judgment, no final judgment until relief is granted • Not a final judgment, b/c no ruling on issue of damages • If D is liable, possibility to pay damages, and also possibility of injunction § injunctions (specifically preliminary) are interlocutory and are made appealable by statute § Injunctions are exception to interlocutory statute. It is an appealable order. • Here there's no injunctions, b/c court doesn’t say for liberty to stop their actions § If court were to issue an injunction, it would have to meet the requirements of an injunction § We cant say its an injunction when it doesn’t say so. • Not an injunction, so what other kind of order is this? - 1292(b) § If you get a certificate that the interlocutory judgment involves a controlling issue of law § (b) When a district judge, in making in a civil action an order not otherwise appealable under this section, shall be of the opinion that such order involves a controlling question of law as to which there is substantial ground for difference of opinion and that an immediate appeal from the order may materially advance the ultimate termination of the litigation, he shall so state in writing in such order. The Court of Appeals which would have jurisdiction of an appeal of such action may thereupon, in its discretion, permit an appeal to be taken from such order, if application is made to it within ten days after the entry of the order: Provided, however, That application for an appeal hereunder shall not stay proceedings in the district court unless the district judge or the Court of Appeals or a judge thereof shall so order. § If district court grants certificate on the controlling issue of law, when the party goes to court of appeals, you can oppose it by saying it's not an issue of law, so not a controlling issue of law.