In Kennedy v. St. Joseph’s Ministries, Inc., the Fourth Circuit held that a federal appellate court may properly permit appeals of certified, interlocutory dismissal orders under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b) (“§1292(b)”)—even on matters of first impression—without the district court first addressing more routine grounds for dismissal. In interpreting this exception to the final-judgment rule, the court failed to heed “the cardinal principal” of judicial self-restraint that holds “that if it is not necessary to decide more, it is necessary not to decide more.” Moreover, the court did not address the legal or factual hurdles facing parties who seek or oppose appeals under §1292(b).
The Kennedy decision therefore (1) encourages piecemeal litigation by allowing parties to obtain interlocutory appeals under §1292(b), even when the case might just as efficiently be decided through a final judgment; and (2) leaves parties uncertain about how to litigate appeals under §1292(b). As such, the Kennedy decision threatens to lead to less efficiency and greater costs within the circuit, both to litigants and the courts.
- federal interlocutory appeal,
- final-judgment rule,
- Fourth Circuit,
- 28 U.S.C. 1292(b)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/william_denham/1/