Barassi v. Matison
In Barassi v. Matison, 130 Ariz. 418, 421-22, 636 P.2d 1200, 1203-04 (1981), the Arizona Supreme Court addressed jurisdiction over premature notices of appeal.
The appellants in Barassi filed a notice of appeal from an unsigned minute entry order denying their motion for new trial. 130 Ariz. at 419, 636 P.2d at 1201.
Analyzing Arizona Rule of Civil Appellate Procedure 9(a) and Rule 58(a), the court held that "a premature appeal from a minute entry order in which no appellee was prejudiced and in which a subsequent final judgment was entered over which jurisdiction may be exercised need not be dismissed." Id. at 422, 636 P.2d at 1204.
The court emphasized, however, that appeals will be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction when a litigant attempts to appeal when "a motion is still pending in the trial court or where there is no final judgment." Id.
The Arizona Supreme Court held that a notice of appeal filed after the denial of a motion for new trial but before entry of a final judgment provides a basis for appellate jurisdiction.
The rationale was that the superior court's judgment had become final and dismissal of the premature notice of appeal would punish an appellant for being too diligent. Id. at 421, 636 P.2d at 1203.
Nevertheless, appellate courts lack jurisdiction when "a litigant attempts to appeal where a motion is still pending in the trial court or where there is no final judgment." Id. at 422, 636 P.2d at 1204.
The supreme court reaffirmed Barassi, explaining that "appellate courts should dismiss a case for lack of jurisdiction while a time-extending motion was still pending in the trial court." Smith v. Ariz. Citizens Clean Elections Comm'n, 212 Ariz. 407, 415, P 38, 132 P.3d 1187, 1195 (2006).