To date, these posts mainly discuss what one must do in the trial court and appellate court to obtain appellate review. This post and the next two shift gears to cover the kind of orders that may be appealed.
Section 14-3-330, S.C. Code Ann., primarily governs which orders may be appealed and provides for immediate appellate review of four type of orders:
- orders or judgments that are final
- orders “involving the merits”
- orders affecting a “substantial right”
- orders involving an injunction
Orders that are final must so completely fix the rights of the parties that the court has nothing further to do in the action. Ashenfelder v. City of Georgetown, 389 S.C. 568, 573, 698 S.E.2d 856, 859 (Ct.App. 2010). Once such a judgment is entered, a party may appeal any intermediate order or decree that necessarily affects that final judgment. Link v. School District of Pickens County, 302 S.C. 1, 6-7, 393 S.E.2d 176, 179 (1990).
A “final judgment” also traditionally requires that the ruling dispose of all the issues in the action. Link, 302 S.C. at 5 n. 3, 393 S.E.2d at 178 n. 3 (1990). But Rule 54(b), SCRCP, may have altered this understanding. It allows a trial court to certify or direct the entry of a “final judgment” as to one or some of the claims in the action. The effect of this certification or lack of it remains unsettled.
The Supreme Court has specifically noted that the effect of granting a Rule 54(b) certification is unsettled. Until its interplay with Section 14-3-330 is better resolved, the