Legal Memorandum: Definition of "Final Judgment" in MA

Issue: Under Massachusetts law, what constitutes a ‘final judgment’?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Final judgment; Definition
Jurisdiction: Massachusetts
Cited Cases: 9 Mass. App. Ct. 250; 475 N.E.2d 76; 400 N.E.2d 871; 398 N.E.2d 763; 622 F.2d 944; 908 F.2d 1218; 508 N.E.2d 100; 466 N.E.2d 514
Cited Statutes: Mass. R. Civ. P. 54(a), (b)
Date: 02/01/2001

           Subsections (a) and (b) of Rule 54 should be read in pari materia:

(a) Definition; Form.  The terms “judgment” and “final judgment” include a decree and mean the act of the trial court finally adjudicating the rights of the parties affected by the judgment . . . .


(b) Judgment Upon Multiple Claims or Involving Multiple Parties.  When more than one claim for relief is presented in an action, whether as a claim, counterclaim, cross-claim, or third-party claim, or when multiple parties are involved, the court may direct the entry of a final judgment as to one or more but fewer than all of the claims or parties only upon an express determination that there is no just reason for delay and upon an express direction for the entry of judgment.  In the absence of such determination and direction, any order or other form of decision, however designated, which adjudicates fewer than all the claims or the rights and liabilities of fewer than all the parties shall not terminate the action as to any of […]

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