Cases Released April 10, 2009

From the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals:

Cotten v. St. Bernard Preparatory School

Dulaney v. Dulaney

Haynes v. Coleman

Complete List of Cases from the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals


From the Alabama Supreme Court:

Ex parte Barnett; Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the Court of Criminal Appeals (In re: Barnett v. State of Alabama)

Alabama State Bar v. Hallett

Bon Harbor, LLC v. United Bank

Complete List of Cases from the Alabama Supreme Court

Striking Of Expert For Failure To Timely Disclose In Accordance With Scheduling Order Not A “Sanction”

In Cobb v. Fisher, [Ms. 1071501] (Ala. April 2, 2009), the Alabama Supreme affirmed the trial court’s striking of an expert which was disclosed in an untimely matter in a medical malpractice case.  The  and further concluded that the striking of the expert, which resulted in summary judgment for the defendant, was not technically a "sanction."

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Narrative Summary of Undisputed Facts Must Be Before Trial Court When It Rules on Motion For Summary Judgment

An interesting discussion of the requirement that a narrative summary of unsdisputed facts, as required by Ala. R. Civ. P. 56, must be before the trial court when it rules on a summary judgment motion is found in Kelmore, LLC v. Alabama Dynamics, Inc., [Ms. 1050479] (Ala. April 3, 2009).

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Party Generally Cannot Cross-Appeal Favorable Ruling

In Picard v. Credit Solutions, Inc., No. 08-11104 (April 6, 2009), the Eleventh Circuit held that it lacked jurisdiction over the plaintiff’s cross-appeal of an issue in an order in her favor.  Noting that the language that the plaintiff challenged was dicta, the Court explained that, "'[o]rdinarily, the prevailing party does not have standing to appeal because it is assumed that the judgment caused that party no injury.’  An exception to the rule exists where the prevailing party is prejudiced by the collateral effect of the district court’s decision.  . . . ‘A party may not appeal from the judgment or decree in his favor, for the purpose of obtaining review of findings he deems erroneous which are not necessary to support the decree.’"  The Picard decision addresses a question of first impression in the Eleventh Circuit regarding whether the Credit Repair Organizations Act prohibits arbitration. 

Cases Released April 3, 2009

From the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals:

Mason v. Wilson

C.S.B. v. State Department of Human Resources

Beverly v. Beverly

Rogers v. Penske Truck Leasing Co., L.P.

Steward v. Steward

Complete List of Cases from the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals


From the Alabama Supreme Court:

Governor Riley v. Joint Fiscal Committee of the Alabama Legislature et al.

Cobb v. Fisher et al.

Bonner v. Lyons, Pipes & Cook, P.C.

Ex parte Saad’s Healthcare Services, Inc.; Petition for Writ of Certiorari to the Court of Civil Appeals (In re: Saad’s Healthcare Services v. Meinhardt)

Kelmor, LLC v. Alabama Dynamics, Inc.

Complete List of Cases from the Alabama Supreme Court

Appellate Court Raises Indispensable Party Issue First Time on Appeal

"The absence of an indispensable party is a jurisdictional defect that renders a proceeding void."  Allbritton v. Dawkins, No. 2080063 (Ala. Civ. App. March 27, 2009).  When a "’final judgment will affect ownership of an interest in real property, all parties claiming an interest in the real property must be joined.’"  Id.  The county is an indispensable party when the parties to a lawsuit ask the court to determine whether a road is public or private.  Because the plaintiffs sought a declaration that Allbritton Lane is a public road, a determination that will affect the rights of the owners of the property underlying the purported easement who were not parties to the lawsuit,  the court of civil appeals did not have jurisdiction over the appeal.  The appellate court remanded the case to the trial court, ordering the trial court to add the proper parties.  The court held that it could decide the indispenable party issue sua sponte on appeal even though the parties did not raise it at the trial cor appellate level because the issue is jurisdictional.

Court Determines Standard of Review for Denial of AALA Claim

In Mahoney v. Loma Alta Property Owners Assoc., No. 2080192 (Ala. Civ. App. March 27, 2009), the Court of Civil Appeals noted that although the Alabama Supreme Court has identified the standard of review for trial court awards of damages under the Alabama Litigation Accountability Act, the Court has not addressed the standard of review for appeals from orders denying a claim for ALAA damages. The Court concluded that the standard of review that applies to an appeal of an order awarding damages under the ALAA also applies to an appeal from a trial court order denying a claim for damages under the ALAA: “when the trial court denies an ALAA claim without stating its reasons, this court will reverse only when the record shows indisputably that the ‘action, claim, or defense’ is either ‘groundless in fact’ or ‘groundless in law.’” The court noted that an order denying a request for ALAA damages does not have to include findings of fact; an order granting a motion does.

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Court Explains Worker’s Compensation Causation Standard of Review

In Waters Brothers Contractors, Inc. v. Wimberley, No. 2070871 (Ct. Civ. App. March 6, 2009), the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals discussed the standard of review regarding causation in a worker’s compensation case.  The court found that the employer’s expert’s testimony did not defeat the employee’s claim for benefits.  Although the employer’s expert was the only expert witness to testify regarding medical causation, the trial court was not bound to accept his testimony. “The trial court has wide discretion in reaching its findings regarding medical causation. It may interpret the evidence according to its own best judgment. A trial court may infer medical causation from circumstantial evidence indicating that, before the accident, the worker was working normal with no disabling symptoms but that, immediately afterwards, those symptoms appeared and have persisted ever since. On appeal, a trial court’s findings of fact based on conflicting evidence are conclusive on this court if they are supported by substantial evidence.” Id.

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