Schmidt, Sethi & Akmajian Blog

Civil Procedure/Appellate Practice: Appealable Judgment Rule 54

Posted by Ted A. Schmidt | Mar 12, 2018 | 0 Comments

City of Tucson v. Sensibar, 784 Ariz. Adv. Rep. 17 (App. Div. II, February 5, 2018) (J. Eppich)

The defendant was found in violation of building codes in a hearing before the Tucson Municipal Court. Defendant appealed to the Pima County Superior Court where the city court ruling was upheld. Defendant then attempted to appeal to the Arizona Court of Appeals but the appeal was dismissed as untimely. Defendant than secured a new judgment from the superior court which for the first time had rule 54 (c) language.  The Arizona Court of Appeals again dismissed defendant's appeal as untimely.

Defendant argued that his first appeal was premature because he appealed from a judgment without Rule 54 (c) language in it.  While in most cases this is true, the court of appeals held that where there is a statutory basis to appeal separate and apart from the basis for appeal provided in the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure and the Arizona Superior Court Rules of Appellate Procedure, Rule 54 language is unnecessary for the judgment to be appealable.

A.R.S. §22-375 provides that an appeal may be taken "from a final judgment of the superior court" in an action appealed from a lower court if the action involves, inter alia, the validity of a municipal statute. Here defendant's argument was that the municipal ordinance in question was facially invalid because it conflicted with a state statute. A.R.S. §22-375 does not require Rule 54 language for the judgment to be appealable.  Defendant's appeal is dismissed as untimely.

About the Author

Ted A. Schmidt

Ted's early career as a trial attorney began on the other side of the fence, in the offices of a major insurance defense firm. It was there that Ted acquired the experience, the skills and the special insight into defense strategy that have served him so well in the field of personal injury law. Notable among his successful verdicts was the landmark Sparks vs. Republic National Life Insurance Company case, a $4.5 million award to Ted's client. To this day, it is the defining case for insurance bad faith, and yet it is only one of several other multi-million dollar jury judgments won by Ted during his career. He is certified by the State Bar of Arizona as a specialist in "wrongful death and bodily injury litigation".


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