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Imperial Aluminum-Scottsboro, LLC v. Taylor No. 2140077

Court of Civil Appeals of Alabama

July 24, 2015

Plaintiff filed a claim for benefits under the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Act, and also included a separate claim for retaliatory discharge. The defendant filed a motion to sever the two claims. Imperial requested a true severance under Rule 21 of the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure, however, the trial court bifurcated the issues pursuant to Rule 42(b) of the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure. After a jury trial on the claim for retaliatory discharge, a verdict was returned for the plaintiff. Judgment was entered in favor of the plaintiff, and the defendant appealed.

The Court of Civil Appeals of Alabama declined jurisdiction, as defendant’s appeal was not from a final judgment. Plaintiff’s claims were only bifurcated, and not severed. Plaintiff’s claim for workers’ compensation benefits was still pending, and the judgment entered on the retaliation claim was not a final judgment without an order certifying the judgment as final for purposes of appeal pursuant to Rule 54(b) of the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure. Had the two claims been truly severed under Rule 21 of the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure, a judgment entered in the retaliatory discharge claim would have been considered final and appealable without reference to the proceedings in the severed action.

Categories: Workers' Compensation
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