Order Valid If Judge Renders and Directs Entry of Judgment But Order Not Entered Until After Judge Leaves Office

The unique scenario of where the trial court judge renders a judgment just before his term of office ends, but the judgment was not entered until after the judge’s term ended,  was presented in Gilliam v. Gilliam, [Ms. 2080856] (Ala. Civ. App. Feb. 5, 2010).  The Court of Civil Appeals concluded that, to be valid, the trial court must both render judgment and direct entry of judgment by the clerk prior to leaving office.  Further, the Court of Civil Appeals held that an order is valid even if filed on a legal holiday, but that the trial court erred by not holding a hearing on a post-judgment motion that had merit.

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Successive 60(b) Motions Not Allowed

The circuit court denied a plaintiff’s Rule 60(b) motion. The plaintiff then filed a second, “identical” Rule 60(b) motion. The circuit court correctly recognized that it had no jurisdiction to entertain the second motion. Barnes v. Alternative Capital Source, LLC, No. 2081103 (Ala. Civ. App. Jan. 29, 2010).

This concise opinion presents a string of postjudgment filing dates. Its upshot is that successive postjudgment motions under Rule 60(b), by the same party on the same grounds, are not allowed.  This is the oft-repeated rule that “motions to reconsider” Rule 60(b) motions are not recognized; so that once a trial court denies a 60(b) plea, it cannot hear a second one by the same party. The circuit court in this case was affirmed for deciding, under Rule 60(b)(4), that it lacked jurisdiction to hear a repeat 60(b) motion.

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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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