Nature of Appellate Jurisdiction



The right to appellate review exists only by statute or rule. See, e.g., Wash. Suburban Sanitary Comm'n v. Lafarge North America, Inc., 443 Md. 265, 274 (2015); Miller and Smith at Quercus, LLC v. Casey PMN, LLC, 412 Md. 230, 240 (2010). The general rule—Md. Code Ann., Courts & Judicial Proceedings II § 12-301 (2013 & Supp. 2018) (hereinafter Cts. & Jud. Proc. II § ___)—is that a person may appeal only from a final judgment. In the words of the Court of Appeals:

[T]here is a long-standing bedrock rule of appellate jurisdiction, practice, and procedure that, unless otherwise provided by law, the right to seek appellate review in this Court or the Court of Special Appeals ordinarily must await the entry of a final judgment that disposes of all claims against all parties.

Silbersack v. ACandS, Inc., 402 Md. 673, 678 (2008) (citing Smith v. Lead Indus. Ass'n, 386 Md. 12, 21 (2005); Shoemaker v. Smith, 353 Md. 143, 165 (1999); Rohrbeck v. Rohrbeck, 318 Md. 28, 41 (1989)); accord Miller and Smith at Quercus, 412 Md. at 242; see also Silbersack, 402 Md. at 683-84 ("unless authorized by statute ..., the collateral order doctrine, or pursuant to Maryland Rule 2-602(b), appeals from orders or decisions that do not resolve or complete the resolution of the entire case, and are therefore interlocutory in nature, are not only not favored, they are not allowed") (emphasis in original).

There are, however, exceptions:

a. Narrow statutory exceptions in §§ 12-302, 12-303, 12-304 of the Courts and Judicial Proceedings Article.

b. Collateral orders (which are really considered to be interlocutory only in appearance but final judgments in substance).

c. Appeals under Maryland Rule 2-602(b) of rulings that dispose of one or more but fewer than all "claims" in the case, or all of the claims against one or more but fewer than all parties in the case, where the circuit court has determined that there is no just reason to delay the entry of final judgment.

Absent one of these limited exceptions to the final judgment rule, an appeal will lie only from a final judgment; without a final judgment, the appellate court lacks jurisdiction. See, e.g., Nnoli v. Nnoli, 389 Md. 315, 326 (2005) ("[a]n order that is not a final judgment is an interlocutory order and ordinarily is not appealable unless it falls within an exception to the final order doctrine"); Salvagno v. Frew, 388 Md. 605, 615 (2005) ("we have made clear that the right to seek...

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