“Good Count / Bad Count” Error Yields New Trial

After being charged on five claims, the jury returned a general verdict for the plaintiff. Two of the claims were not supported by substantial evidence. The verdict was thus flawed under the “good count / bad count” rule. The Supreme Court of Alabama reversed the judgment entered on the verdict, and remanded the case for a new trial on the viable claims. Mobile OB-GYN, P.C. v. Baggett, Nos. 1071020, 1071081 (Ala. Jun. 12, 2009).

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Parental Rights Arguments Could Not Be Raised for First Time on Appeal; Ineffective Assistance Might Be Pressed Later Under Rule 60(b)

A father who did not appear at a parental rights hearing, and filed no post-judgment motion, could not raise substantive arguments for the first time on appeal, the Court of Civil Appeals held.  D.A. v. Calhoun County Dept. of Human Resources, No. 2060112 (Ala. Civ. App., June 29, 2007).  The father’s effectiveness-of-counsel argument, though, might still be pursued under Rule 60(b).

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Alabama Court of Civil Appeals Allows Appeal of Order Granting Rule 60(b) Motion

    In Lanier Worldwide, Inc. v. Crum [slip op.], the Alabama Supreme Court allowed an appeal of the trial court’s order granting a Rule 60(b) motion. In this case, released June 15, 2007, Lanier sought to enforce a Georgia judgment directing Crum to pay Lanier $17,045.66 awarded in arbitration. Lanier submitted a certified copy of the judgment, along with an affidavit of one of its attorneys who testified that the judgment of the Georgia court was valid, enforceable, and unsatisfied. In response, Crum filed a motion pursuant to Rule 60(b) of the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure attacking the judgment of the Georgia court on the basis of personal jurisdiction. Following a hearing, the trial court refused to enforce the Georgia judgment, thereby effectively granting Crum’s Rule 60(b) motion.

    In determining whether it had appellate jurisdiction, the court noted the general proposition that an order granting a Rule 60(b) motion is considered interlocutory and therefore not appealable. However, the trial court’s order at issue amounted to a conclusion that the judgment of the Georgia court was void for lack of jurisdiction and no further proceedings were contemplated with respect to enforcement of the Georgia court’s judgment in the Alabama Court. Under these circumstances, orders granting Rule 60(b) relief may be appealable.

Indispensable Parties Could Be Argued For First Time on Appeal

    In J.K.L.B. Farms, LLC v. Phillips, — So.2d –  [slip opinion], released June 15, the Alabama Supreme Court held that the appellant could advance his indispensable parties argument for the first time on appeal, but that the absence of parties from the trial court did not void the trial court’s judgment.

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