Minn. R.C.P. 54.02 provides that “the court may direct the entry of a final judgment as to one or more but fewer than all of the claims or parties only upon an express determination that there is no just reason for delay and upon an express direction for the entry of judgment.” The court makes the judgment final by entering the phrase, “There being no just reason for delay let judgment enter accordingly,” at the end of the order; by so doing, the court makes the judgment immediately appealable by the losing party. In the absence of this provision, mandated by Rule 54.02, the partial summary judgment is not considered a final judgment and is not appealable. The losing party must then wait until the end of the case, when all claims have been resolved and final judgment has been entered, before filing an appeal.
The trial judge has broad discretion under Rule 43.02 to allow piecemeal appeal. (See Novus Equities Corp. v. EM-TY Partnership, 381 N.W.2nd 426 (Minn. 1986); Housing and Redevelopment Authority In and For City of Minneapolis v. Minneapolis Metropolitan Co., 141 N.W.2d 130 (1966). Among the circumstances in which the trial judge might enter partial summary judgment enabling immediate appeal are: 1) if one party would suffer substantial loss of interest by a delayed ruling and the other would suffer no significant prejudice; 2) if questions of law are involved that should be reviewed and resolved before the action continues; 3) if a decision regarding a particular party or an issue regarding a particular party may be determinative of the action.
Hon. Alan F. Pendleton
10th Judicial District