State v. MSEA and MLRB, 482 A.2d 461 (Oct. 5, 1984), affirming Superior Court
 dismissal of appeal (CV-83-287) of Board Interim Order in 82-A-02 (June 2, 1983).
MAINE SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT                Reporter of Decisions
                                            Decision No. 3609
                                            Law Docket No. Ken-83-381
                            STATE OF MAINE
                      MAINE LABOR RELATIONS BOARD
                         Argued - May 7, 1984
                         Decided - October 5, 1984

         and SCOLNIK, JJ.
     On this appeal, which stems from petitions for bargaining
unit clarification filed by the State of Maine with the Maine
Labor Relations Board, the State urges us to find or fashion an
exception to the final judgment rule to permit this appeal of an
interlocutory order.
     We decline to do so.
     On April 23, 1980, the State filed with the Board three pe-
titions for bargaining unit clarification, pursuant to the State
Employee Labor Relations Act, 26 M.R.S.A.  979 et seq.  The pe-
titions alleged that certain State employees, then in bargaining
units, should be excluded from collective bargaining because they


were "confidential" within the meaning of section 979-A(6)(C),
as it then read.[fn]1  After hearings, the hearing examiner issued
a unit clarification report, granting the State's request for
exclusion on 55 positions and rejecting it on the remaining 100
positions then in dispute.
     The State appealed, and the Maine State Employees Association
cross-appealed, to the Maine Labor Relations Board pursuant to
26 M.R.S.A.  979-G(2)(Supp. 1983).  Meanwhile, the Legislature
had amended section 979-A(6)(C) and had added two more subsections,
thus broadening the exclusions for State employees from bargaining
units.  P.L. 1981, ch. 381.[fn]2  The State subsequently filed new unit
clarification petitions affecting over 500 State employees, in-
cluding 25 positions involved in its appeal from the hearing ex-
aminer's decision.  Before the Board the State argued that these
25 positions should be analyzed under the new statutory standard,
since "[i]t would be absurd to go through the entire case again"
on the "technicality" that this standard was not in effect when the
State brought its original petitions.
1.  This section defined "state employees" as excluding anyone
    "[w]hose duties as deputy, administrative assistant or
    secretary necessarily imply a confidential relationship with
    respect to matters subject to collective bargaining as be-
    tween such person and the Governor, a department head or
    body having appointive power within the executive department."
    26 M.R.S.A.  979-A(6)(C)(1974).                                  .
2.  The amendment changed subsection (C) to read "Whose duties
    necessarily imply a confidential relationship with respect
    to matters subject to collective bargaining as between such
     Accordingly, in an interim order dated June 2, 1983, the
Board remanded the issue as to these 25 positions to the hearing ex-
aminer for hearings on new evidence and arguments in light of the
amendments to section 979-A(6) and for a determination "as soon as
is practicable" of the status of these positions under the amended
law.  The Board made it plain that the State's right of appeal on
the positions at issue would not be lost thereby but "merely kept
in abeyance" pending the remand.  However, in the same decision and
order, the Board also sustained the hearing examiner's rulings with
respect to about 30 other positions.
     On June 21, 1983, the State sought judicial review of the Board's
order pursuant to M.R. Civ. P. 80B.[fn]3  The Superior Court granted the
    person and the Governor, a department head, body having
    appointive power within the executive department or any
    other official or employee excepted by this section . . .."
    The amendment also added the following subsections:
         "I.  Who is appointed to a major policy-influencing
         position as designated by Title 5, section 711,
         subsection 2; or
         J.  Who substantially participates in the formula-
         tion and effectuation of policy in a department or
         agency or has a major role, other than a typically
         supervisory role, in the administration of a col-
         lective bargaining agreement or agency."
3.  It would appear that this action seeking judicial review of a
    Maine Labor Relations Board decision is governed by the Ad-
    ministrative Procedure Act, 5 M.R.S.A.  11001(1),  8002
    (definitions of "agency" and "final agency action") and M.R.
    Civ. P. 80C, which, effective February 15, 1983, prescribes the
    procedure for obtaining judicial review pursuant to that Act.
    But see 26 M.R.S.A.  979-G(2), incorporating  972, and 26
    M.R.S.A.  979-H(7).

Board's motion to dismiss on the ground that the Board's order
did not constitute a final, reviewable decision.  It is from
that order of dismissal that the State now brings this appeal
to our Court.
     The State concedes that the order at issue was interlocutory.
Generally, interlocutory orders are not appealable.  Garrison v.
Finks, 469 A.2d 440 (Me. 1983); 2 Field, McKusick & Wroth, Maine
Civil Practice  73.1 (2d ed. 1970); see also 9 Moore's Federal
Practice  110.06 et seq. (2d ed. 1983).  This judicially-created
rule requiring a final judgment is equally applicable to the de-
crees of an administrative or quasi-judicial body.  Mechanic Falls
Water Co. v. Public Utilities Coimmission, 381 A.2d 1080, 1087 (Me.
1977) ; Department of Mental Health & Corrections v. Bowman, 308
A.2d 586, 587 (1973).
     The reasons for the final judgment rule are many and strong.
It helps curtail interruption, delay, duplication and harrassment;
it minimizes interference with the trial process; it serves the
goal of judicial economy; and it saves the appellate court from
deciding issues which may ultimately be mooted, thus not only
leaving a crisper, more comprehensible record for review in the
end but also in many cases avoiding an appeal altogether.  See
generally 15 Wright, Miller & Cooper, Federal Practice and Pro-
cedure;  Jurisdiction  3907 (1976).
     The exceptions to the final judgment rule which we have recog-
nized are few, narrow and well-defined.  See generally 2 Field,

McKusick & Wroth, Maine Civil Practice  73.2-73.4a (2d ed.
1970 & Supp. 1981).  The State asserts that three such exceptions
apply here:  the "death knell" exception, the "collateral order"
exception, and the "judicial economy" exception.
     The death knell exception permits judicial review "when failure
to do so would preclude any effective review or would result in
irreparable injury."  Sears, Roebuck & Co. v. Mackey, 351 U.S.
427, 441 (1956)(Frankfurter, J., concurring in part); see generally
15 Wright, Miller & Cooper, Federal Practice and Procedure, supra
at  3912.  Heretofore we have invoked this principle to grant
emergency review where the appellant would obviously suffer ir-
reparable harm otherwise and the issue pressed on appeal would be
effectively mooted if not immediately addressed.  Plumbago Mining
Corp. v. Sweatt, 444 A.2d 361, 368 (Me. 1982); Connors v. Inter-
national Harvester Co., 437 A.2d 880, 881 (Me. 1981); Moffett v.
City of Portland, 400 A.2d 340 (Me. l979).[fn]4
     In the case before us, however, the State has offered no evidence
of any irreparable injury that would befall it if review of the
Board's order were denied at this time.  The only effect of the
remand order on the parties was to protract the maintenance of the
status quo.  Moreover, the State will not have lost the opportunity
to challenge the remand order on appeal once the Board has made
a final dispcsition of this case.  No "death knell" will sound if
the State fails to obtain immediate appellate review.
4.  But see Crafts v. Quinn, No. 3604 (Me. Sept. 28, 1984)(death
    knell doctrine found inapplicable).

     We have also had occasion to make an exception to the final
judgment rule for collateral orders.  See Cohen v. Beneficial Loan
Corp., 377 U.S. 541 (1949).  An order is deemed within the ex-
ception if (1) it is a final determination of a claim separable
from the gravamen of the litigation; (2) it presents a major un-
settled question of law; and (3) it would result in irreparable loss
of the rights claimed, absent immediate review.  Hanley v. Evans,
443 A.2d 65 (Me. 1982).
     The State contends that this remand order is separable from
the gravamen of the litigation, inasmuch as the issues arising from
the 1981 amendments were not raised in the original hearings; but it
cannot argue that the remand constitutes a final determination of a
claim.  Moreover, as noted above, the order does not threaten the
State with the irreparable loss of a claimed right.  Thus, at least
two of the three prongs of the collateral order test are not satisfied.
     On occasion the interests of judicial economy may constitute
a third exception to the final judgment rule.  See Milstar Manu-
facturing Corp. v. Waterville Urban Renewal Authority. 351 A.2d 538
(Me. 1976); Packard v. Whitten, 274 A.2d 169 (Me. 1971).  This ex-
ception is reserved for those rare cases in which appellate review
of a non-final order can establish a final, or practically final, dis-
position of the entire litigation.  Id.; see generally 2 Field,
McKusick & Wroth, Maine Civil Practice  73.4a (Supp. 1984).
     Given the current posture of the case before us, it is most un-
likely that judicial review of the administrative proceedings at this

juncture would settle the matters in dispute with any finality.
These proceedings were initiated, and hearings were held, under
a statute that has since been significantly modified.  It would be
premature and entirely unwarranted for a court to decide the issues
raised in these proceedings under the amended law before these
issues have been sifted through the proper administrative channels.
This Court has no authority to render advisory opinions
except under the special conditions permitted the justices of this
Court by the Maine Constitution.  Opinion of the Justices, 460 A.2d
1341, 1345-46 (Me. 1982); Me. Const. art. IV,  3.  To review the
disputed positions under the pre-1981 law, on the other hand, would
not finally resolve the litigation; the status of these positions
under the current law would still be in dispute.  Such review at
this time, therefore, would ill-serve the goal of judicial economy.
     As the foregoing analysis indicates, the remand order here comes
under no previously recognized exception to the final judgment rule.
Of course, we may create an additional exception where extraordinary
circumstances warrant it.  See Bar Harbor Banking & Trust Co. v.
Alexander, 411 A.2d 74 (Me. 1980).  This is not that extraordinary case.
     The Maine State Employees Association joins the Board in con-
sidering the 25 positions directly affected by the remand order to
be unripe for review but takes the position that the issue as to the
30 other positions on which the Board ruled without remanding was

ready for immediate review.  However, to fragment this case and
carve out certain claims for purposes of review would contravene
our strong policy never to treat a decision on fewer than all the
claims in multi-claim or multi-party litigation as a final judgment
unless it is explicitly designated as such.  M.R. Civ. P. 54(b);
M.D.C. Civ. P. 54; M.R. Prob. P. 54(b); M. Admin. C. R. 54(b).

     The entry, therefore, must be:
                                      Judgment of dismissal affirmed.
All concurring.                                                                
Attorneys for the Plaintiff:             Attorneys for the Defendants:         
Julie McKinley, Esq. (orally)            Shawn Keenan, Esq. (orally)
Susan Farnsworth, Esq.                   Maine State Employees Association
Governor's Office of Employee Relations  65 State Street
State House Station #79                  Augusta, ME 04330
Augusta, Maine 04333                  
                                         Marc P. Ayotte, Esq. (orally)         
                                         Maine Labor Relations Board           
                                         State Office Building #90             
                                         Augusta, Maine 04333                  

NOTICE:  This opinion is subject to formal revision before publication in
the Maine Reporter.  Readers are requested to notify the Reporter of
Decisions, Box 368, Portland, Me. 04112, of any typographical or other
formal errors before the opinion goes to press.