October 28, 2013

Supreme Court issues important decision strengthening the “one final judgment” rule

While the focus of our blog is on practice before the California Supreme Court, we have in the past made note of those decisions by the Court that are likely to have a significant impact on appellate practice statewide.  (See here and here for earlier posts of this type.)   With that in mind, the California Supreme Court issued just such an opinion earlier this month.  In Kurwa v. Kislinger, S201619, the Court addressed “whether an appeal may be taken when the judgment disposes of fewer than all the pled causes of action by dismissal with prejudice, and the parties agree to dismiss the remaining counts without prejudice and waive operation of the statute of limitations on those remaining causes of action.”  Applying a line of cases starting with Don Jose’s Restaurant, Inc. v. Truck Ins. Exchange (1997) 53 Cal.App.4th 115, the Court unanimously answered that question with a resounding “no.”  The Court explained: “[T]he parties’ agreement holding some causes of action in abeyance for possible future litigation after an appeal from the trial court’s judgment on others renders the judgment interlocutory and precludes an appeal under the one final judgment rule.”  (See Code Civ. Proc., § 904.1, subd. (a).)  The decision is in keeping with the Court’s previous decisions in this area, notably Morehart v. County of Santa Barbara (1994) 7 Cal.4th 725, 740-741, in which the Court held a judgment that fails to dispose of all causes of action pending between the parties is generally not appealable.

Leave a Reply