A recent decision by the Louisiana Third Circuit provides another lesson on the proper form of a final, appealable judgment. The judgment decreed:
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED, that the Lafayette Parish School Board’s Motion for Partial Summary Judgment is granted.
The plaintiff appealed, but the Third Circuit dismissed her appeal on grounds that it “lacks appropriate decretal language” necessary for a final, appealable judgment. Thomas v. Lafayette Parish School Sys., 13-91 (La. App. 3 Cir. 3/6/13), 2013 WL 81205.
What language should a judgment contain to be appealable? The Thomas court explained:
A final appealable judgment must contain decretal language, and it must name the party in favor of whom the ruling is ordered, the party against whom the ruling is ordered, and the relief that is granted or denied.
The judgment in Thomas lacked this language. And since, on its face, it granted partial summary judgment, the Thomas court found it ambiguous, as it did not clearly state whether it disposed of all or only a portion of the plaintiff’s claims.