Understanding the distinction between a final judgment and an interlocutory judgment is crucial to making sure your case does not get dismissed as untimely. A final judgment determines the merits of the case in whole or in part while all other judgments are interlocutory.
Interlocutory judgments are intermediate rulings decided by the trial court. These judgments do not dispose of the merits of the claims. Usually, an interlocutory judgment cannot be appealed immediately; only final judgments can be appealed. However, in Louisiana, the Court of Appeals allows for individuals to file a writ for supervisory review within 30 days from when the trial court makes its interlocutory ruling. If the writ was filed in a timely fashion, the appellate court will review the merits of the claims that were decided by the trial court. If the writ was not filed in a timely manner, the appellate court will dismiss the case.
The 30 day period to file the writ is a steadfast rule. Countless cases have been dismissed because writs are filed after the given 30 day time period. Many fail to realize that the 30 day period begins right when the trial court makes its ruling. Filing a writ after this 30 day time period results in a complete dismissal of the case.
In a suit that arose out of a collision between Mr. Thomas J. Averette’s truck and a train of The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company (BNSF) in the Parish of Acadia, Mr. Averette’s motion for appeal was ultimately dismissed as untimely because he did not file his motion for appeal until 49 days after the district court made the interlocutory judgment. By this time, Mr. Averette had lost the opportunity to have the appellate court review the merits of the trial court’s decision.
On appeal, the appellate court actually granted Mr. Averette the opportunity to show cause for why his appeal should not be dismissed. Mr. Averette asked the appellate court to convert the appeal into an application for supervisory review, so that the merits of the trial ruling can be considered. However, the procedure by which Mr. Averette attempted to have the merits reviewed was faulty and inaccurate.
The problems in these proceedings lay in not filing the writ for supervisory review thirty days after the trial court’s ruling. Also, his method of asking the court to convert the appeal into an application for supervisory review does not follow the correct procedure required because the writ should have been filed before he appeared in court on appeal. Since his appeal had been taken from an interlocutory ruling that was non-appealable, and he failed to show cause for why his appeal should not be dismissed, the appellate court dismissed his claims and he was unable to recover personal injury damages from the crash.
In order to ensure that your suit does not get dismissed due procedural deadlines, contact the Berniard Law Firm. Attorneys at the Berniard Law Firm are on top of their deadlines and fully capable of meeting your litigation needs. Call the Berniard Law Firm at (504) 521-6000 or Toll-Free at 1-866-574-8005 and an attorney specializing in personal injury will be more than happy to help you get the time in court that you deserve.