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03/10/95 MICHAEL MEDINE AND DEBORAH MEDINE v.

March 10, 1995

MICHAEL MEDINE AND DEBORAH MEDINE
v.
MILLER, HAMILTON, SNIDER & ODOM, ET AL.



Appeal from Mobile Circuit Court. (CV-94-0197). Dominick J. Matranga, TRIAL JUDGE.

Rehearing Denied July 28, 1995.

Jones, Maddox, Shores, Houston, Ingram, Cook, and Butts, JJ., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jones

JONES, RETIRED JUSTICE.

This appeal arises out of a malicious prosecution claim. In a prior action, Michael Medine (now a plaintiff) had prevailed, as a defendant, in a claim for overpayment of benefits for a job-related injury.

The trial court's order in this case granting the defendants' motion for summary judgment recites the following: "STATEMENT OF THE CASE

"This suit for malicious prosecution of a civil action was filed January 20, 1994. The complaint seeks compensatory and punitive damages against a partnership of lawyers and against two individual attorneys formerly associated with the partnership.

"The plaintiffs aver that the defendants, representing USF&G, commenced a civil action against Michael Medine in the state district court for the recovery of money overpaid for a work-related injury [and for] punitive damages.

"The amount of [alleged] overpayment was $443.25. The action in district court sought recovery of $2,800 for compensatory and punitive damages. A summary judgment for the defendant was entered on April 15, 1993.

"STATEMENT OF THE FACTS

"In the district court complaint, USF&G averred that Michael Medine received benefits for a compensable injury under the state workers' compensation statute [Ala. Code 1975, § 25-5-1 et seq.]. While receiving these benefits, [USF&G] averred, [Medine] secured employment, but continued to draw compensation. The complaint averred the overpayment of compensation by mistake. The complaint averred fraudulent concealment by Medine for receiving workers' compensation while gainfully employed.

"The benefits paid Medine were pursuant to a work-related injury [Medine suffered] while working in the engine room of a vessel under repair. The benefits were paid pursuant to the Longshore and Harbor Workers' Compensation Act [ 33 U.S.C. § 901 et seq. (LHWCA)].

"[In] the action in the district court, Medine filed a motion for summary judgment on grounds that there can be no recoupment of any overpayment under this statute [the LHWCA].

"On March 30, 1993, the defendants here [Miller, Hamilton, Snider & Odom, et al.] submitted a counter-affidavit stating the payments were made pursuant to the state workers' compensation ...


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