Appeal from Etowah Circuit Court. (CV-93-1035). Donald W. Stewart, Trial Judge.
Released for Publication May 27, 1995.
Jones, Hornsby, C.j., and Maddox, Almon, Shores, Houston, and Ingram, JJ., concur.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jones
The defendant, Agricola Partners, Inc., appeals from a summary judgment for the plaintiff, Joyce Parker, on her claim arising out of a $43,166 promissory note. The note was executed on May 1, 1990, and was payable on May 1, 1993, with interest thereon at the rate of 10% per annum. Attached to Joyce Parker's motion for summary judgment, and in support thereof, was her own affidavit stating that, while her one-half interest in the mortgage executed by Agricola Parnters, Inc., as security for the note, had been transferred to her brother, Hugh Agricola, who owned the remaining one-half interest in the mortgage, she had not transferred the note to her brother, but instead had retained it. Parker also attached to her motion a letter, purportedly sent to her by her brother, offering to pay Parker a certain sum of money for transferring her one-half interest in the mortgage but explicitly stating that she "could keep the $43,166 note" -which she did.
Agricola Partners' response to Parker's motion for summary judgment contained, among other things, the affidavit of Hugh Agricola, in which he stated that his sister Joyce Parker no longer held an interest in either the mortgage or the note, because, he said, she had transferred both instruments to him. While the affidavit directly contradicts the terms of the assignment, as expressed in the letter, the affidavit does not explicitly deny the authenticity of the letter.
Along with its response to Parker's motion for summary judgment, Agricola Partners filed a motion to add Hugh Agricola as an indispensable party, contending that unless the issues between this brother and sister were adjudicated in the pending case, Agricola Partners risked having to pay the $43,166 note twice. To support its claim that it fears double liability, Agricola Partners asserts that it is currently paying Hugh Agricola the mortgage interest claimed by Joyce Parker under the promissory note.
Rule 19, Ala. R. Civ. P. ("Joinder of persons needed for just adjudication"), provides, in pertinent part:
"(a) Persons to be joined if feasible. A person who is subject to jurisdiction of the court shall be joined as a party in the action if (1) in his absence complete relief cannot be accorded among those already parties, or (2) he claims an interest relating to the subject of the action and is so situated that the Disposition of the action in his absence may (i) as a practical matter impair or impede his ability to protect that interest or (ii) leave any of the persons already parties subject to a substantial risk of incurring double, multiple, or otherwise inconsistent obligations by reason of his claimed interest. If he has not been so joined, the court shall order that he be made a party. If he should join as a plaintiff but refuses to do so, he may be made a defendant, or, in a proper case, an involuntary plaintiff. If the joined party objects to venue and his joinder would render the venue of the action improper, he shall be dismissed from the action."
Because we hold that one or more of the requisite elements of Rule 19(a) have been met, we reverse the judgment and remand the cause for further proceedings.
Having so held, we nevertheless make several observations that may be helpful to the parties and to the court in disposing of this cause on remand. Initially, we note Agricola Partners' contention that the trial court erred in denying Agricola Partners' motion to strike Hugh Agricola's purported letter to his sister, Joyce Parker; whether or not the letter was admissible when offered, *fn1 it will unquestionably become admissible, if authenticated, once Hugh Agricola is added as a party. We quote the full context of the pertient paragraph of this letter:
"I have you a cashier's check for $462,500. You can keep your $43,166.00 note, claim for interest $720.00, and $138,000, giving you a total of $644,386. Do you want it? All I want is a ...