Appeal on the Merits Definition

An appealable final judgment under § 12-2101(B) "'decides and disposes of the cause on its merits, leaving no question open for judicial determination.'" Id., quoting Decker v. City of Tucson, 4 Ariz. App. 270, 272, 419 P.2d 400, 402 (1966).

The phrase "on the merits" does not mean the cause of action had to be determined after trial. a decision is "'on the merits' if it finally resolves an action in a manner that precludes later relitigation of the claims involved. Such a judgment may result from an actual trial on the substantive issues but it need not do so." 4501 Northpoint LP v. Maricopa County, 212 Ariz. 98, P 16, 128 P.3d 215, 218 (2006) (internal citations omitted). a decision on the merits includes a judgment resulting from a stipulation, a grant of summary judgment, or a dismissal with prejudice. Id. P 17.

In Arizona, our statutes and rules of appellate procedure permit appeals only from final judgments or orders." S. Cal. Edison Co. v. Peabody W. Coal Co., 194 Ariz. 47, P 16, 977 P.2d 769, 774 (1999).

"In the civil context, the right to appeal is not absolute but exists only by statute." Id. Whether an order is final and appealable depends not on its form but on "'its substance or effect.'" Props. Inv. Enters., Ltd. v. Found. for Airborne Relief, Inc., 115 Ariz. 52, 54, 563 P.2d 307, 309 (App. 1977), quoting Connolly v. Great Basin Ins. Co., 5 Ariz. App. 117, 120, 423 P.2d 732, 735 (1967).