Appeals from Monroe Circuit Court. (CV-11-900001). Dawn W.
Hare, Trial Judge.
Fulgham Fibres, Inc., Alphonso Gross,
Appellants/Cross-Appellees: William E. Shreve, Jr., Lara B.
Keahey, Phelps Dunbar LLP, Mobile.
Dwayne Stokes, Appellee/Cross-Appellant: R. Edwin Lamberth,
Gilmore Law Firm, Grove Hill.
Frisco Forest Products, LLC, Appellee/Cross-Appellant: Ian D.
Rosenthal, Patrick H. Sims, Cabaniss, Johnston, Gardner,
Dumas & O'Neal LLP, Mobile.
Judge. Thompson, P.J., and Thomas, Moore, and Donaldson, JJ.,
appeals (transferred to this court by our supreme court
pursuant to Ala. Code 1975, § 12-2-7(6)) arise from a
civil action brought in the Monroe Circuit Court by C. Dwayne
Stokes (" the employee" ). In his original
complaint, filed in March 2011, the employee asserted a
single claim seeking an award of benefits under the Alabama
Workers' Compensation Act, Ala. Code 1975, § 25-5-1
et seq. (" the Act" ), against his former employer,
Frisco Forest Products, LLC (" the employer" );
that complaint contained no demand for a trial by jury,
because the Act provides that claims as to benefits available
under the Act are to be decided by the trial judge sitting
without a jury. See Ala. Code 1975, § 25-5-89. In July
2011, the employee amended his complaint to add claims of
negligence and wantonness against a number of third parties
-- Fulghum Fibres, Inc. (" Fulghum" ); Alphonso
Gross; Jeffrey Stanford; Bryan Madden; Robert Maxwell; John
Straiton; and various fictitiously named defendants -- who,
the employee alleged, had breached duties of care so as to
have proximately caused the employee's purported
workplace injury. In his amended complaint, the employee
demanded a jury trial " of all issues ... which [we]re
triable to a jury," and the trial court set the case for
a jury trial to take place in August 2012.
that trial took place, Stanford, Madden, Maxwell, and
Straiton filed in July 2012 a motion for a summary judgment
as to all claims asserted against them. A " memorandum
of fact and law" was subsequently filed in support of
that motion; however, that filing listed Fulghum and Gross as
additional movants. The trial court entered an order on
August 8, 2012, granting the motion as to Stanford, Madden,
Maxwell, and Straiton, but it denied the motion as to all
other defendants; however, the trial court did not direct the
entry of a final judgment pursuant to Rule 54(b), Ala. R.
Civ. P., as to that partial summary judgment.
case then went to trial on the negligence claim against
Fulghum and Gross, with the employee and those defendants
presenting evidence and arguments and the employer
additionally participating by way of limited questioning and
argument addressed to the location of the employee at the
time his alleged injury occurred. At the conclusion of the
trial, the jury was given a verdict form containing the
following textual groupings, setting forth three alternative
" We, the jury, find in favor of the plaintiff
[employee] and against the defendants and assess the
plaintiff's damages at $ .
" We, the jury, find for the plaintiff and against the
" 1. Alfonso [sic] Gross
" 2. Fulghum Fibres, Inc. " and assess the
plaintiff's damages ...