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Interlocutory Orders

Interlocutory orders are temporary orders issued during the course of litigation.  Appeals from interlocutory decrees that determine the rights and liabilities of the parties to admiralty cases in which there lie appeals from final decrees are tried by the Courts of Appeal.  Here, a party can appeal after determination of liability but before the assessment of damages.  For a claim to fall within the statutory provision for interlocutory orders, it must be properly referred as an admiralty claim and as such must be integrally linked to an admiralty claim.

An interlocutory order determining the merits of a particular claim or defense finally may be appealed immediately.  For an interlocutory order to be appealable, it is not necessary that all issues on the merits which will have some bearing on the determination of damages be decided.  A district court judgment which determines all rights and liabilities among parties and also calculates all recoverable damages with the sole exception of the amount of attorney’s fees and costs owing to a shipowner is appealable under the statute, as is an order approving a settlement.  The statute applies to any decree that determines the liability of one of the parties finally, even if it leaves open an issue which may ultimately preclude recovery by a particular plaintiff.  The statute also provides for an immediate review since any future review may be impractical.

An appeal of an interlocutory order, a portion of which determines all the recipient and assignee’s claims against the consignee will not be allowed where the dismissal does not prevent the recipient and assignee from commencing another independent action in another forum.  Appeals over interlocutory orders do not apply to procedural determinations, or admiralty order staying a case pending arbitration.  The dismissal of one or more parties on grounds other than the merits of the controversy in multiple party issues is not subject to an interlocutory appeal, though appealable with a district court certification.

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