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Wall to Wall Properties v. Cadence Bank, N.A.

Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

September 12, 2014

Wall to Wall Properties
v.
Cadence Bank, N.A., and Tommy Ragland, Judge of the Madison Probate Court

Released for Publication May 15, 2015.

Appeal from Madison Circuit Court. (CV-12-901676). D. Alan Mann, Trial Judge.

For Appellant: Patrick A. Jones, Huntsville.

For Cadence Bank, N.A., Judge Tommy Ragland, Appellees: Charles D. Stewart and Thomas S. Hiley of Spain & Gillon, LLC, Birmingham.

OPINION

Page 385

MOORE, Judge.

Wall to Wall Properties (" Wall" ) appeals from a judgment of the Madison Circuit Court (" the circuit court" ) dismissing its petition for a writ of mandamus directed to the Madison Probate Court (" the probate court" ). We reverse.

Background

In a petition for a writ of mandamus filed in the circuit court, and in accompanying affidavits with supporting documentation attached, see Ala. Code 1975, § 6-6-640, Wall alleged that it had purchased a parcel of real property (" the property" ), which included a residential structure, at a tax sale on May 3, 2012, for $814.07. Wall further asserted that it had purchased insurance to cover the property and that it had made permanent improvements to the property. According to Wall, Cadence Bank, N.A. (" Cadence" ), subsequently foreclosed a mortgage on the property, deposited $867.07 with the probate court, and obtained a certificate of redemption from the probate court dated September 21, 2012. Wall averred that the probate court had acted without providing notice to Wall or conducting a hearing to verify that Wall had been reimbursed for the costs of insurance premiums it had paid and for the permanent improvements it had made to the property in accordance with § 40-10-122(c) through (e), Ala. Code 1975.

Page 386

Wall further asserted that, on October 22, 2012, it had requested, in writing, that the probate court quash, vacate, or set aside the certificate of redemption and that the probate court had refused that request. Wall requested that the circuit court issue a writ of mandamus compelling the probate court to vacate the certificate of redemption.

Cadence and Judge Tommy Ragland, the judge of the probate court, filed multiple motions to dismiss the mandamus petition. In those motions, Cadence and Judge Ragland argued that the circuit court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction over the mandamus petition and that, even if the circuit court had jurisdiction, Wall had failed to timely file its petition in accordance with Rule 21, Ala. R. App. P. Cadence and Judge Ragland further argued that the certificate of redemption should not be set aside because a probate court has no authority or duty to collect premiums paid for insurance and costs expended for permanent improvements under § 40-10-122(c) through (e). Additionally, Cadence contended that the petition should be dismissed because Wall had not furnished sufficient evidence of the permanent improvements it had made to the property and the amounts it was owed for the insurance premiums it had paid and for the permanent improvements it had made and that, after filing the petition for a writ of mandamus, Wall had forfeited its right to payment by failing to comply with § 40-10-122(d). Wall and Cadence filed competing " summary-judgment motions" addressing the above issues.

On September 5, 2013, the circuit court denied the " summary-judgment motions" and granted the motions to dismiss filed by Judge Ragland and Cadence without specifying the basis for its judgment. Wall filed a " motion to reconsider" on October 4, 2013, which was denied on October 8, 2013. Wall filed its notice of appeal to this court on November 15, 2013. This court transferred the appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court for lack of subject-matter ...


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