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Appeals of Final Decisions

As in civil cases, final orders in admiralty case are appealable to the Court of Appeals.  The doctrine of collateral order, according to which review of an order which finally determines claims of right separable from and collateral to rights asserted in the context of a larger action, is applicable to admiralty cases.  The parties’ acceptance of an order as a final that decides less than all claims will not divest the Court of Appeal of jurisdiction.  If a district court releases an attachment of a vessel, it does not deny the Court of Appeals jurisdiction over the shipping company’s appeal from a decision dismissing a tortious interference with contract claim against the purchaser of the vessel.

In Petroleos Mexicanos Refinacion v. M/T King A (EX-TBILISI), 377 F.3d 329 (3d Cir. N.J. 2004), the court contended that an appeal lies only from a “final decision.”  A decision is not final, ordinarily, unless it ends the litigation on the merits and leaves nothing for the court to do but execute the judgment.  The denial of a motion to dismiss does not end the litigation and ordinarily is not a final order.

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