Articles Posted in Alabama Supreme Court

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Southeast Construction, L.L.C. ("SEC") appealed a Circuit Court order enforcing, a previous judgment entered by that court based on an arbitration award in favor of WAR Construction, Inc ("WAR"). Upon review of the facts of this case, the Supreme Court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded for further proceedings. The Court concluded the circuit court erred in finding in a January 9 order that "all liens and claims against SEC ... from WAR's subcontractors/suppliers that filed a lien on the project ... ha[d] been released and/or adequate security ha[d] been provided." Furthermore, the Court concluded the circuit court erred in finding that WAR had "attempt[ed] to comply with what the Supreme Court ordered the circuit court to implement as of May 13, 2011," and that WAR was entitled to have the interest owed under the arbitrators' award and the May 9 judgment calculated from that date. View "Southeast Construction, L.L.C. v. WAR Construction, Inc. " on Justia Law

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Clay Merches petitioned the Alabama Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus to direct the trial court to dismiss claims against him for lack of personal jurisdiction. The underlying case concerned a missing flatbed trailer owned by Builders Transportation, a Tennessee company. The plaintiffs were Alabama residents. The complaint alleged that the parties had entered into a contract in which Builders Transportation and Dwight Bassett (employee of Builders Transportation) had agreed to pay the plaintiffs $10,000 in return for information about the location of the missing trailer. The plaintiffs further alleged that Builders Transportation and Bassett had breached that contract by failing to pay the plaintiffs $10,000 for the information given about the trailer, which was located in a field in Hale County. Instead of receiving $10,000, the plaintiffs were arrested in Hale County and charged with receiving stolen property and conspiracy to commit theft of property. Those charges were later dismissed. In July 2012, the plaintiffs amended their complaint to add Merches, an employee of Builder Transportation as a defendant. The claims and factual allegations made against Merches in the amended complaint were the same as those made against Builders Transportation and Bassett. Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded Merches lacked sufficient contact with Alabama to support the trial court's exercise of personal jurisdiction over him. Accordingly, the Court issued the writ. View "Brantley v. Bassett" on Justia Law

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The L.B. Whitfield, III Family LLC appealed a circuit court judgment that ordered the Family LLC to wind up its affairs following its dissolution on the death of its sole member and to return 22 shares of Class A voting stock in Whitfield Foods, Inc. to Virginia Ann Whitfield, Almeida Fair Whitfield Strawder, and Valerie Lee Whitfield Puckett ("the sisters"). Upon review of the dispute, the Supreme Court concluded that the trial court erred in ordering the Family LLC to return the 22 voting shares to only the sisters. The Court affirmed the portion of the trial court's judgment finding that the Family LLC was dissolved and ordering that the Family LLC must wind up its affairs, provide an accounting of its assets, distribute those assets in equal shares to Louie, Virginia Whitfield, Valerie Puckett, and Almeida Strawder, and file articles of dissolution in the office of the judge of probate of Montgomery County. View "L.B. Whitfield, III Family LLC v. Whitfield et al. " on Justia Law

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U.S. Bank National Association and U.S. Bancorp sought a writ of mandamus ordering the Jefferson Circuit Court to dismiss the malicious-prosecution case filed against them by Sterne, Agee & Leach, Inc. that arose out of a lawsuit prosecuted by U.S. Bank entirely in the State of Washington. The principle of "lex loci delicti" requires that the law of the state in which the antecedent lawsuit was terminated in favor of the complaining party governs a malicious-prosecution claim. Thus, Washington law governed Sterne Agee's claim of malicious prosecution. Accordingly, U.S. Bank's petition for writ for mandamus was granted, and the circuit court was ordered to dismiss Sterne Agee's malicious-prosecution case. View "Sterne, Agee & Leach, Inc. v. U.S. Bank National Association" on Justia Law

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Defendants Alabama Psychiatric Services, P.C. ("APS"), and Managed Health Care Administration, Inc. ("MHCA"), appealed the trial court's order denying their motions for a judgment as a matter of law. Although the jury entered a verdict for APS and MHCA, they nonetheless argued that two claims that were ultimately tried should not have been submitted to the jury. APS and MHCA also appealed the trial court's order granting a motion for a new trial filed by plaintiff A Center for Eating Disorders, L.L.C. ("ACED"). ACED opened its doors under the name Alabama Center for Eating Disorders and using the acronym ACED. Shortly thereafter, APS filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against ACED, arguing that ACED's name infringed on the name of APS's eating-disorder center. ACED voluntarily changed its name to A Center for Eating Disorders so that it could continue to use the acronym ACED, and the trademark-infringement lawsuit was dismissed. After MHCA refused to allow ACED to apply as a services provider for the network of mental-health professionals treating patients insured by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama ("Blue Cross"), ACED filed its own seven-count lawsuit against APS, MHCA, and Blue Cross. The Supreme Court reversed the trial court's order denying APS's and MHCA's motions for a judgment as a matter of law as to ACED's intentional interference-with-business-relations and conspiracy claims, and the Court reversed the order granting ACED's motion for a new trial. View "Alabama Psychiatric Services, P.C. v. A Center for Eating Disorders, L.L.C. " on Justia Law

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Charles Gower petitioned the Supreme Court to vacate an arbitration award in favor of Turquoise Properties Gulf, Inc., Caribe Realty, Inc., Larry Wireman, and Judy Ramsey Wireman(collectively, "Turquoise"). The underlying dispute arose from Gower's preconstruction agreement to purchase a condominium unit in a complex developed by Turquoise. The arbitrator's decision was based in large part on Turqoise's successfully raising a statute-of-limitations defense to Gower's claims. The Supreme Court found that Turquoise expressly argued, and then abandoned, one specific statute-of-limitations defense and then it never again urged the arbitrator to apply a statute of limitations to the various claims actually brought by the claimants. Through its arguments, Turquoise distilled the issues and arguments submitted to the arbitrator for consideration. Gower argued, and the Supreme Court agreed, that Turquoise "affirmatively chose to forgo any statute of limitations defense to the [c]laimants' ... claims and therefore did not submit [the] same to the Arbitrator for decision." Therefore, the Supreme Court concluded that because the issue of the applicability of a statute of limitations was not submitted to the arbitrator for decision, the arbitrator exceeded his powers in applying a statute of limitations to Gower's claims. The Court reversed the judgment entered on the arbitrator's award, and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "Gower v. Turquoise Properties Gulf, Inc., et al. " on Justia Law

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Cavalier Manufacturing, Inc. appealed a circuit court order that denied its motion to alter, amend, or vacate an arbitration award entered in favor of Janie Gant. Gant purchased a mobile home manufactured by Cavalier from Demopolis Home Center, L.L.C. ("DHC"). At the time of purchase, Gant and representatives of Cavalier and DHC executed an alternative-dispute-resolution agreement in which they agreed to arbitrate any disputes that might arise among them stemming from Gant's purchase of the mobile home. The mobile home was also covered by a manufacturer's warranty issued by Cavalier that likewise contained a provision requiring arbitration of any disputes that might arise between her and Cavalier relating to the mobile home. Gant was not satisfied with the manner in which DHC delivered and installed the mobile home on her property. Eventually Gant sued, and the matter was submitted to arbitration. The arbitrator awarded Gant $45,550 on her breach-of-express-warranty claim, plus an additional sum to be determined for attorney fees. Cavalier argued on appeal that the trial court erred by confirming the arbitration award in favor of Gant. Finding no error, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "Cavalier Manufacturing, Inc. v. Gant " on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court's judgment in this case to the extent that it concluded Parker Towing was not entitled to indemnity for $25,000 it paid landowners in settlement of landowners' claims against it. The landowners sued Parker Towing and Triangle Aggregates, Inc. stemming from their claims of breach of contract pertaining to properties they originally leased to Parker, which were subsequently purchased by Triangle. Parker argued it was not liable for the landowners' claims following its sale of the properties to Triangle. However, the Supreme Court reversed the trial court's judgment with respect to its conclusion that Triangle was not required to indemnify Parker Towing for its attorney fees and other litigation expenses incurred to defend against the claims asserted against Parker Towing for breaches of the agreements with the landowners. The fees and expenses incurred by Parker Towing as a result of those breaches were covered by the indemnification agreement between Parker Towing and Triangle. View "Parker Towing Company, Inc. v. Triangle Aggregates, Inc. " on Justia Law

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Gambro Renal Products, Inc. hired The Facility Group, Inc. ("TFG"), as the general contractor for the construction of a facility designed to produce kidney dialysis filters in Opelika. TFG contracted with the Hardy Corporation for specialized piping work on the project. Absolute Welding Services, Inc. ("AWS"), is a subsidiary of Rayco Industrial, Inc., a subsubcontractor hired by Hardy. Although the negotiations on the subcontract at issue in these appeals were between AWS and Hardy, the subcontract was executed by Rayco and Hardy. A dispute arose over whether the exclusion of "passivation" and the installation of piping in Rayco's offer was incorporated into its subcontract. Rayco filed a complaint against Hardy, Gambro and 15 fictitiously named parties, seeking an accounting, a declaratory judgment, a reformation of the contract, and perfection of a lien. Rayco asserted claims for damages for breach of contract, unjust enrichment/quantum meruit, and "work and labor done." Both parties unhappy with the eventual trial court order resolving the dispute, appealed the order. After careful consideration of the contracts and the trial court record, the Supreme Court reversed in part, and affirmed in part. The case was remanded with instructions for further proceedings. View "Hardy Corporation v. Rayco Industrial, Inc. " on Justia Law

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Ligon Capital, LLC, and its subsidiary HTI Hydraulic Technologies, LLC, sued CNH America, LLC, asserting breach-of-contract, fraudulent-misrepresentation, and fraudulent suppression claims stemming from CNH's decision to stop using HTI as a supplier of hydraulic cylinders. Following a two week trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Ligon and HTI on their fraudulent-suppression claims, awarding them $3.8 million in compensatory damages and $7.6 million in punitive damages. The trial court entered a judgment on that verdict, and CNH appealed. Finding no error, the Supreme Court affirmed. View "CNH America, LLC v. Ligon Capital, LLC" on Justia Law