June 01, 2018 Legal Lore

Collateral History in the Interlocutory Making—Before Two Legal Titans Became Famous

Richard A. Dean | The author is a U.S. magistrate judge for the Southern District of Ohio, Dayton, and a fellow of the American Bar Foundation.

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Cohen v. Beneficial Industrial Loan Corp., 337 U.S. 541 (1949), is best known for its holding that a collateral order may be subject to an interlocutory appeal, even if it is not a “final order.” Lawyers and law students have been litigating the application of the Cohen test for generations now. But few realize the unusual crossroads of judicial and legal legacy the history of that case reflects.

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