Saturday, April 26, 2008

Appeal dismissed from multiple count lawsuit against former business partner and associates because trial court did not dismiss the plaintiff's cause of action in its entirety. Poppert v. Dicke, S-06-741, 275 Neb. 562 Disgruntled business partner sued other partners and associated professionals for breach of fiduciary duty and plead various claims against several parties. The district court dismissed the plaintiffs suit against the business partner for breach of fiduciary duty and certified it as final, appealable order. However the district court did not dismiss the plaintiff's suit for unjust enrichment and diverting profits. Because some of the remaining claims were identical with the dismissed claims, the district court failed to issue a certified final order. Nebraska Supreme Court dismisses appeal. 25-1315 requires the court to certify as appealable a final order as to a "claim for relief." "Claim for relief" and "cause of action" are synonymous, although theory of recovery is not. A cause of action comprises the common facts that establish the defendant's liability to the plaintiff although the difference between a cause and a theory is not too clear. Although the district court dismissed some of the plaintiff's theories of recovery, it did not dispose entirely of his cause of action against his partner. Therefore the Supreme Court lacked jurisdiction over the appeal. A “claim for relief” within the meaning of § 25-1315(1) is equivalent to a separate cause of action, as opposed to a separate theory of recovery. A cause of action consists of the fact or facts which give one a right to judicial relief against another; a theory of recovery is not itself a cause of action. the district court’s order dismisses some of those theories of recovery, i.e., “causes of action” Nos. 1 through 3, but does not dismiss all of them. The district court’s order was not a “‘final order’ . . . as to one or more but fewer than all of the causes of action.”

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