Appeals from Jefferson Circuit Court (CV-17-902114),
Elisabeth A. French, Trial Judge.
Huggins, Pelham, for appellant/cross-appellee Russell
F. Smith II of Vernis & Bowling of Birmingham, LLC,
Birmingham, for appellee/cross-appellant Heather Rene Fann.
Miller and Garret C. Miller of Miller, Christie & Kinney,
P.C., Vestavia Hills, for appellee Progressive Direct
supreme court has consistently stated that certifications of
judgments as final under Rule 54(b), Ala. R. Civ. P., are
disfavored and should rarely be entered by trial courts. See
Schlarb v. Lee, 955 So.2d 418, 419 (Ala.
2006)("This Court looks with some disfavor upon
certifications under Rule 54(b)."); and Baker v.
Bennett, 644 So.2d 901, 903 (Ala. 1994)(citing
Branch v. SouthTrust Bank of Dothan, N.A., 514 So.2d
1373 (Ala. 1987) )("Certifications under Rule 54(b)
should be entered only in exceptional cases and should not be
routinely."). Furthermore, our supreme court has
explained that a Rule 54(b) certification is not proper when
certified claims present issues that are
"intertwined" with claims that remain pending in
the trial court or when "[r]epeated appellate review of
the same underlying facts" is probable. Smith v.
Slack Alost Dev. Servs. of Alabama, LLC, 32 So.3d 556,
562 (Ala. 2009).
Williams appeals from an order of the Jefferson Circuit Court
("the trial court") that, among other things,
entered a partial summary judgment as to Williamss claim of
wantonness against Heather Rene Fann. Fann cross-appeals that
same order insofar as it denied her motion seeking to strike
certain evidence submitted by Williams and granted Williamss
motion seeking to strike certain evidence submitted by Fann
and Progressive Direct Insurance Company
("Progressive"). The trial courts order was
certified as final under Rule 54(b). Because the order was
interlocutory and not subject to certification as final under
Rule 54(b), we dismiss these appeals as having been taken
from a nonfinal judgment. See Moore v. Strickland,
54 So.3d 906, 908 (Ala.Civ.App. 2010)(quoting Sexton v.
Sexton, 42 So.3d 1280, 1282 (Ala.Civ.App. 2010) )("
Generally, an appeal will lie only from a final judgment,
and if there is not a final judgment then this court is
without jurisdiction to hear the appeal. ").
2017, Williams filed a complaint in the trial court asserting
claims of negligence and wantonness against Fann stemming
from an automobile and bicycle collision. Additionally,
Williams asserted a claim of negligence per se against Fann
and a claim seeking underinsured-motorist benefits against
March 27, 2018, Fann and Progressive filed a joint motion for
a partial summary judgment with supporting documentation
regarding Williamss claim of wantonness. On April 30, 2018,
Williams filed a response in opposition to the motion for a
partial summary judgment with supporting documentation. On
May 3, 2018, Williams, on one side, and Fann and Progressive,
on the other side, filed motions seeking to strike certain
evidence the other side had submitted in support of, or in
opposition to, the partial-summary-judgment motion.
7, 2018, the trial court entered the following order:
"[Williamss] Motion to Strike Investigating Officer
Evidence in Support of [Fann and Progressives] Motion for