Circuit Court Lacked Jurisdiction to Award Post-Judgment Attorney Fees – Should Have Vacated Void Order Under Rule 60(b)(4)

Well after the deadline had passed for filing post-judgment motions, the circuit court purported to grant a new motion to award the defendant attorney fees. This act was void for want of jurisdiction, and should have been vacated on the plaintiff’s motion. Palisades Collection, LLC v. Delaney, 2070532 (Ala. Civ. App. July 10, 2009).

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Appeals From Non-Final and Void Judgments Lead to Triple Dismissal — Appeals From Even Non-Final Judgments Divest Trial Court of Jurisdiction

One appellant saw three appeals dismissed in a single decision from the Court of Civil Appeals. Busby v. Lewis, Nos. 2060998, 2060999, 2070151 (Ala. Civ. App. May 9, 2008). Two appeals were from nonfinal judgments that had left claims pending against other parties; while a third was from a void judgment entered after the first appeals were lodged — and thus after the trial court had lost jurisdiction of the case.

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Voluntary Dismissal “Effective Automatically,” Leaves Nothing to Appeal

A voluntary dismissal left a would-be intervener with nothing to appeal from. Its motion to intervene was denied in action that was already “defunct”; and the appeal from that denial was consequently dismissed. Gallagher Basset Services, Inc. v. Phillips, No. 1070416 (Ala. Apr. 11, 2008).

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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.