Cases Released on October 26, 2007

From the Supreme Court of Alabama:

Ex parte Edwards, In re: Edwards v. State of Alabama

Gwaltney, et al. v. Russell

Ex parte Sawyer and Finch, Ex parte Stevens, In re: Percer v. Sawyer, et al.

Ex parte Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, In re: Dillard v. Cooper Tire & Rubber Company

Warren v. Hooper

 

From the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals:

Janda v. Janda

Traweek v. Lincoln

Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, LLC v. Alford

Johnson v. Huxford Pole & Timber Company, Inc.

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. Mason

Cases Released October 19, 2007

From the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals:

Associated General Contractors Workers Compensation Self Insurance Fund, Alabama Branch v. Williams

Stonebrook Development, L.L.C. v. Matthews Brothers Construction Company, Inc.

T.R. v. R.C.

 

From the Alabama Supreme Court:

Ex parte Sorsby, In re: State of Alabama v. Sorsby

Cole, et al. v. Riley, Governor of the State of Alabama, et al.

New Gourmet Concepts, Inc. v. Siedo Investments Company, L.L.C., et al.

Alabama Department of Transportation v. Williams

A Motion to Alter or Vacate a Discovery Order Does Not Extend the Presumptively Reasonable Time Within With to File a Mandamus Petition

In Ex parte Hoyt , No. 2060858, released October 12, 2007, the Court of Civil Appeals dismissed a mandamus petition seeking review of the trial court’s discovery order because the petitioner failed to file it within the presumptively reasonable time period or to include a statement of reasons as to why the court should consider the petition notwithstanding its untimeliness.  

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Denial of a Motion to Reconsider a Stay is Interlocutory

The Court of Civil Appeals dismissed the wife’s appeal from a divorce decree in Norman v. Norman, No. 2060587, released October 12, 2007.   In that case, the trial court entered a judgment of divorce awarding custody of the parties’ children and ordering the father to make child support payments.  The mother filed a motion to modify the child support obligations and for contempt.  The father answered and filed a motion to stay pursuant to the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, claiming that he was engaged in active military service.  The trial court granted the motion to stay.  The mother filed a motion to reconsider the trial court’s order granting a stay.  The trial court denied that motion on February 22, 2007 and the mother appealed on March 29, 2007. 

  

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Court of Civil Appeals Explains Standard of Review of Judgments Terminating Parental Rights

In J.C. v. State Dept. of Human Resources, No. 206091, released October 12, 2007, the Court of Civil Appeals provided an extensive discussion of the appropriate standard of review of an order terminating parental rights. The court restated the well-settled doctrine that a juvenile court’s factual findings, based on ore tenus evidence, are presumed to be correct and will not be disturbed unless plainly and palpably wrong.  Of note is the court’s explanation of the distinction between the ore tenus rule, which is a standard of appellate review, and the clear-and-convincing standard, which is a standard of proof that Alabama juvenile courts use in making the initial determination regarding whether to terminate parental rights. 

Cases Released October 12, 2007

From the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals:

Estelle v. Cunningham

J.C. v. State Department of Human Resources

Norman v. Norman

Faulk v. Berry

Ex parte Hoyt, In re: Hoyt v. EBSCO Industries, Inc., d/b/a Crown Products

Ex parte Alabama State Board of Chiropractic Examiners, et al., In re: Sparks v. Alabama State Board of Chiropractic Examiners, et al.

From the Alabama Supreme Court:

Walls v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company

State of Alabama v. Lupo

Rogers v. State Farm Fire and Casualty Company

Ex parte Wilbanks Health Care Services, Inc., d/b/a Sylacauga Health Care Center, In re: Wilbanks Health Care Services, Inc. v. Alabama Medicaid Agency

Rhone, et al. v. Adams

Ex parte State of Alabama, In re: State of Alabama v. Andrews

Evidence must be viewed in light most favorable to plaintiff when reviewing summary judgment.

It is black letter law that , on summary judgment, the reviewing court "must review the record in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and must resolve all reasonable doubts against the movant."  This rule was front and center in Ex parte Patel, No. 1060897 (Ala. Oct. 5, 2007).   The Supreme Court found that both the trial court and the Court of Civil Appeals had failed to view the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmovant, and thus reversed the granting of summary judgment.  Click here to see the case and the application of this basic, yet important, rule.

Trial court errs when it dismisses a case on the basis of an affirmative defense which was not asserted by defendant.

In Ex parte Beck, No. 1060593 (Ala. Oct. 5, 2007), the Alabama Supreme Court adopted the reasoning  of the Court of Civil Appeals’ decision of Waite v. Waite, 959 So. 2d 610 (Ala. Civ. App. 2006) and held that  "a trial court errs when it dismisses a case on the basis of an affirmative defense  not asserted by the defendant."  Thus, the Supreme Court reversed dismissal based on res judicata and collateral estoppel, even though the Court found that the claim otherwise would be barred, because the defendants failed to raise  the affirmative defenses in their answer.

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