Alabama Court of Civil Appeals Discusses Standard of Review Applicable to Order Dismissing Action for Failure to Comply with Discovery Rules

In Myers v. Harris, released September 25, 2009 by the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals, the court discussed the standard of review applicable to an order dismissing an action due to the plaintiff’s failure to comply with the rules governing discovery.      

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Cases Released September 25, 2009

From the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals:

Sutton v. King, Attorney General, et al.

P.D.S. v. Marshall County Department of Human Resources

Myers v. Harris

Lanbert v. Mazer Discount Home Centers, Inc.

Wilson v. C-Sharpe Company, LLC

Romer v. Romer

The Alabama Board of Examiners in Psychology v. Richardson, Psy.D.

Green v. City of Montgomery

Complete List of Cases from the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

 

From the Alabama Supreme Court:

Ex parte Webb; Certificate for Writ of Certiorari to the Court of Civil Appeals (In re: Montgomery County Board of Education v. Webb)

Ex parte Wilding; Petition for Writ of Mandamus (In re: State of Alabama v. Wilding)

Northingtom et al. v. Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources et al.

Hilb, Rogal & Hamilton Company et al. v. Beiersdoerfer

State of Alabama Banking Department v. Taylor

Doster Construction Company, Inc. v. Marathon Electrical Contractors, Inc.

Wachovia Bank, N.A. v. Jones, Norrison & Womack, P.C., et al.

Complete List of Cases from the Alabama Supreme Court

“Citizens are entitled to information regarding the affairs of their government.”

In Allen v. Barksdale, [Ms. 1080242] (Ala. Sept. 18, 2009), the Alabama Supreme Court held that certain prison records, including incident reports, are subject to the Open Records Act and had to be disclosed to plaintiffs.  The Department of Corrections argued that the records were part of the inmate’s personal files and not subject to the Act.  In an interesting opinion, the Court ultimately held that the records had to be disclosed, stating "[c]itizens are entitled to information regarding the affairs of their government."  Slip Op. p. 23.

Rule 60(b) Motion May Only Be Granted Where Movant Alleges and Proves a Ground Set Forth in the Rule

In Jefferson County Board of Health v. Birmingham Hide & Tallow Company, Inc., [Ms. 1080847] (Ala. Sept. 11, 2009), the Supreme Court reversed the granting of a Rule 60(b) motion for relief from judgment.  The motion in the trial court neither specified which subsection of the rule the motion was made, nor did it explain why relief was justified under the rule.  The Supreme Court held that the movant must offer evidence supporting a ground under Rule 60 and, because the movant failed to do so, the trial court exceeded its discretion in granting the motion.

Trial Court Has Discretion to Dismiss Action During Trial Due to Party’s Refusal to Follow Instructions

In Ex parte Folmar Kenner, LLC [Ms. 1070824] (Ala. Sept. 18, 2009), the Alabama Supreme Court held that it was within the trial court’s discretion to dismiss a parties counterclaims, with prejudice, during trial when a party did not follow the court’s instructions to just answer the questions asked and to not elaborate on her answers.

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Appeal Dismissed Because Judgment Entered in Will Contest Void

The Supreme Court sue sponte dismissed the appeal in Jean v. Jean, [Ms. 1080989] (Ala. Sept. 18, 2009),  because the underlying judgment was void.  The underlying dispute was a will contest originally brought in probate court, which was transferred to the circuit court.  The plaintiff amended the will contest to also bring claims for breach of contract and negligence.  But a will contest originally brought in probate court, even if transferred to circuit court, can only address issues relating to the validity of the will. Slip Op. p. 5.  The court is without jurisdiction to consider other issues.  Slip Op. p. 6.  Because the trial court did not have jurisdiction to enter the judgment, the judgment was void.  A void judgment will not support an appeal, so the appeal was dismissed.

Grandparents Do Not Have Standing to Appeal the Termination of Parent’s Rights

The Court of Civil Appeals dismissed an appeal for lack of standing in G.P. v. Houston County D.H.R., [Ms. 2080591, 2080606] (Ala. Civ. App. Sept. 18. 2009).  The maternal grandmother appealed the termination of parental rights of the parents.  The Court of Civil Appeals held that a grandparent has no legally protected parental rights, and cannot assert arguments on behalf of the parents.  Therefore, the grandmother did not have standing to appeal, and her appeal was dismissed.