Missouri Supreme Court to consider when a judgment becomes “final” and can be appealed

July 1, 2020

On June 30, 2020, the Supreme Court of Missouri accepted transfer in Butala et al. v. The Curators of the University of Missouri. The case is expected to address the application of Rule 74.01(b) in multiparty cases. In Butala, the plaintiffs raised multiple claims against the University and other defendants. The trial court dismissed all of the claims against the University on grounds of immunity and certified the dismissal as final under Rule 74.01(b). Other claims remained pending against other defendants. When the plaintiffs appealed that dismissal, the court of appeals said that the dismissal of the University was not a “final judgment” that could be appealed.

The plaintiffs argued that transfer should be granted because the court of appeals mistakenly treated the case in the same way as a case where only some of the claims against a particular defendant were dismissed. Plaintiffs argue that when a dismissal completely resolves all claims against a certain defendant, it should be treated as a final judgment as to that defendant.