In any wrongful death lawsuit, it’s imperative that attorneys adhere to the strict procedural rules of the court. This means filings have to be timely. They have to contain the right information. They have to go to the correct individual or entity. They have to follow a certain order. Dropping the ball on any one of these could have a serious impact on the outcome of a case.
In a recent lawsuit before the Nebraska Supreme Court, this was illustrated when, after the judge granted summary judgment to one of three defendants in a fatal truck accident case, the plaintiff entered a joint stipulation to to dismiss the case without prejudice. Thereafter, the plaintiff filed a notice of appeal regarding the earlier summary judgment. However, the state supreme court held that the voluntary dismissal without prejudice didn’t create a final order upon which the plaintiff could base an appeal.
To find that the appellate court had jurisdiction to review the summary judgment in this instance would mean going against long-standing precedent, in which there has to be a final order from which to appeal. That is, the plaintiff can’t move to voluntarily dismiss a case without prejudice, consent to the entry of this order, and then afterward seek appellate review of an earlier pretrial order. The reason for that precedent is that the court wants to avoid piecemeal litigation and a review process that would be substantially weakened.