Kool Radiators v. Evans (CA1 5/31/12)

The facts of this case are unimportant; it is published to announce a change in a point of appellate law.

The trial court dismissed Kool’s Complaint without prejudice and awarded Evans fees and costs. Kool appealed the dismissal and the fee award.

The Court of Appeals first points out that a dismissal without prejudice isn’t appealable. That isn’t the change, though its something that the courts have to publish on every once in awhile since an amazing number of people filing appeals apparently don’t know the basics. A dismissal without prejudice isn’t a final judgment (unless for some reason, such as the statute of limitations, you can’t re-file).

The change is that the court next has to deal with Callanan (1982), in which it held that fee awards from dismissals without prejudice were appealable. The opinion announces that Callanan was wrong because nothing in 12-2101 authorizes such an appeal.

(So the court treats the appeal as a special action, accepts it, and grants relief. It concludes that the dismissal was wrong and so the fee award was also wrong.)

(link to opinion)