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On May 23, 2013, the court issued a signed order stating, among other things, that by consent of the parties the amended complaint as against John Doe was dismissed without prejudice; that Carolina previously had been dismissed without prejudice; and that ESM’s motion for summary judgment was granted. The order directed the clerk of court to enter judgment in favor of ESM and against Jones, with Jones to pay costs. The order was entered on the docket on May 23, 2013. Less than 30 days thereafter Jones filed a notice of appeal.

The right to appeal to this Court is a creature of statute. An appeal only may be taken from a “final judgment.”

Jones’s claim against ESM was adjudicated by the court’s grant of summary judgment in ESM’s favor. Jones’s claims against John Doe and Carolina have not been adjudicated. Rather, they have been voluntarily dismissed without prejudice. A voluntary dismissal without prejudice of a claim against a party does not adjudicate the claim, because it leaves open the option to resurrect the claim.

A party wishing to pursue an appeal of a dispositive ruling as to one opposing party cannot circumvent the final judgment rule by agreeing to dismiss his claims against the remaining parties without prejudice.

Read the unreported opinion.