Trial Court’s Jurisdiction After Remand From Appellate Court Is Limited By Mandate

In South Alabama Skills Training Consortium v. Ford, [Ms. 2080068] (Ala. Civ. App. July 24, 2009), the Court of Civil Appeals dismissed an appeal as being from a void judgment because the trial court’s jurisdiction on a review of a decision of an administrative law judge was limited by certiorari review, and the trial court did not have jurisdiction to go beyond the appellate court’s mandate after remand.

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Party Cannot Appeal Judgment That Does Not Affect It Adversely

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department was not adversely affected by a decision of the county’s Personnel Board. Therefore, the Department could not appeal from that decision. The circuit court should have dismissed the Department’s appeal. Ex parte Jefferson County Sheriff’s Dept., No. 2070634 (Ala. Civ. App. Jan. 23, 2009).

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Certiorari Available to Review “Final” Administrative Decisions Under Fair Dismissal Act

The common-law writ of certiorari is available to review administrative decisions under § 36-26-115 of Alabama’s Fair Dismissal Act, the Court of Civil Appeals held, even though that statute makes administrative decisions “final” and non-appealable. South Ala. Skills Training Consortium v. Ford, No. 2060837 (Ala. Civ. App. Jun. 6, 2008). The appellate court also explained the standards governing certiorari review.

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Failure to Specify “Insufficient Evidence” in Trial Motions Removes This Ground for Reversal

The Alabama Supreme Court clarified “the precision with which” insufficiency of the evidence must be stated in motions for judgment as a matter of law, in order to preserve that argument as a basis for reversal. Ex parte Dekle, No. 1051659 (Ala. Apr. 11, 2008). A landowner who argued only that the plaintiffs had “failed to prove their cause of action,” and later “just renew[ed]” that motion, did not preserve insufficient evidence as a ground for reversal. The state’s high court thus upheld a no-opinion affirmance by the Court of Civil Appeals.

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Alabama Supreme Court can only review grounds accepted on certiorari

The Alabama Supreme Court quashed a writ of certiorari in Ex parte State of Alabama Dept. of Revenue, [Ms. 1061766] (Ala. March 21, 2008) because it could not reach the issue presented.  On certiorari, the State of Alabama Department of Revenue filed a petition for writ of certiorari asking the Supreme Court to reverse a prior case involving the same parties.  The Court of Civil Appeals’ opinion, however, was based on the doctrine of collateral estoppel.  The Supreme Court found that the State did not challenge that finding in its cert petition.  Because the issue of collateral estoppel would have to be addressed before reaching the issue of whether to overrule the prior case, and because the State did not seek review if the collateral estoppel issue, the Court held that it could not reach the issue presented in the cert petition and quashed the writ.

In a special concurrence, Justice See noted that the Alabama Supreme Court had the authority to issue a writ of certiorari ex mero motu.  Therefore, in his opinion, quashing the writ was not required, but was appropriate.

“Error” and “Mistake” Do Not Embrace Intentional Dishonesty

The Supreme Court of Alabama, on a writ of certiorari, and answering questions of first impression, held that the words “error” and “mistake” in a tax statute do not embrace intentional dishonesty. Ex parte HealthSouth Corp., 1060296 (Ala. Aug. 24, 2007). The court also decided that equity prevented a dishonest taxpayer from seeking a refund.

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