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.