Court Uses De Novo Review in Variety of Decisions

This week, the Alabama Supreme Court pointed out that the do novo standard that applies to review of a judgment as a matter of law is “materially indistinguishable” from the de novo standard of review the Court employs when it reviews an appeal from a summary judgment. Glass v. Birmingham Southern Railroad Co., No. 1050831 (Ala. Sept. 28, 2007)(FELA action). The Court also, “reviews de novo a trial court’s interpretation of a statute, because only a question of law is presented.” Alfa v. City of Mobile, No. 1051747 (Sept. 28, 2007)(action to collect license tax). Finally, the Court explained that when it reviews a judgment concerning a challenge to the validity of a settlement agreement, the Court makes a de novo review of the trial court’s decision if the trial court did not receive ore tenus evidence. Billy Barnes Enterprises, Inc. v. Williams,.No. 1090083 (Ala. Sept. 28, 2007); See also, Sierra Club v. TVA, No. 06-10729 (11th Cir. Oct. 4, 2007)(in Clean Water Act opinion, court explained that, “[w]e review de novo the district court’s orders granting TVA’s motions to dismiss and for summary judgment, upholding them if there are no genuine issues of material fact and if TVA is entitled to judgment as a matter of law”).

Cases Released September 28, 2007

From the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals:

McNeill v. McNeill

Ex parte Montgomery County Department of Human Resources, et al. (In re: Matters of M.K. and C.K.)

Ex parte Montgomery County Department of Human Resources, et al. (In re: Matter L.H.)

Hurst v. Cook

SAAD’s Healthcare Services, Inc. v. Meinhardt

Alabama State Personnel Board v. Carson


From the Alabama Supreme Court:

Collins v. Alabama Department of Corrections

Ex parte Young (In re: Young v. State of Alabama)

Ex parte State of Alabama (In Re: Nickens v. State of Alabama)

Alfa Insurance Company v. City of Mobile

Henderson Excavating Company, Inc. v. Alabama Department of Transportation

Allen, as commissioner of the Alabama Department of Corrections v. Barbour County, et al.

Glass v. Birmingham Southern Railroad Company

Billy Barnes Enterprises, Inc. v. Williams


Equity Saves Late Appeal; Condemnation Order “Made” When Signed

In a first decision under Ala. Code § 18-1A-283, the Alabama Supreme Court held that a condemnation order was “made” when signed, and not when it was later “recorded in the probate minutes.” An appeal filed thirty-one days after the order was signed was therefore untimely. Given the confusing language used throughout the state’s Eminent Domain Code, however, and considering the facts of the case, equity would permit the late appeal to proceed. Ex parte State (In re Boutwell v. State), No. 1050299 (Ala. Sept. 21, 2007).

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Interlocutory Appeal Dismissed Where Certified Issues Were Not in Dispute

Where the issues certified for interlocutory appeal (under Ala. R. App. P. 5) proved not to be in dispute, the Alabama Supreme Court decided that permission to appeal had been improvidently granted. Carfax, Inc. v. Browning, No. 1050291 (Ala. Sept. 21, 2007). The Court thus dismissed the appeal.

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Cases Released September 21, 2007

From the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals:

Perkins v. Shelby County

Walker v. Flagstar Enterprises, Inc.

AmSouth Bank, N.A. v. British West Florida, L.L.C., et al.

CVS Corporation, Inc. v. Smith


From the Alabama Supreme Court:

Jones Food Company, Inc. v. Shipman

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

Carfax, Inc. v. Browning

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

Burleson v. RSR Group Florida, Inc.

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

Scholl v. Stacy

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


Method and Scope of Review of an Order Denying a Motion to Transfer Venue

In Ex parte Smiths Water and Sewer Authority, No. 1050329 (Ala. Sept. 14, 2007), the Alabama Supreme Court reiterated that "the proper method for obtaining a review of a denial of a motion for a change of venue in a civil action is to petition for the writ of mandamus."  The court further restated the standard of review applicable to such rulings: "the scope of review is to determine if the trial court abused its discretion, i.e., whether it exercised its discretion in an arbitrary and capricious manner."

Cases Released on September 14, 2007

From the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals:

Hurley v. Hurley

Bailey v. Sawyer

Ward v. Check Into Cash Alabama, LLC

Naylor v. Naylor

Wright v. Hatley Health Care, Inc.

Rogers & Willard, Inc. v. Harwood

Atchison v. Boone Newspapers, Inc.

Vintage Pharmaceuticals, LLC v. Hayes

Russell v. Russell


From the Alabama Supreme Court:

Ex parte Kelly, In re: Kelly v. Kelly

Mobile Infirmary Association v. Tyler

Willis, et al. v. Kincaid

Barry v. The Drennen Memorial Trust of Saint Mary’s Church, et al.

Ex parte Smiths Water and Sewer Authority