Johnnie Mae Alexander Green et al.
E'Stella Alexander Webb Cottrell; Frank Stokes, Jr.
E'Stella Alexander Webb Cottrell et al
Appeals from Elmore Circuit Court. (CV-03-321).
Judge. Thompson, P.J., and Pittman, Thomas, and Donaldson,
Application for Rehearing in Case No. 2100920 and After
Remand from the Alabama Supreme Court
court's opinion of January 16, 2015, is withdrawn, and
the following is substituted therefor.
court's prior judgment was reversed, and the cause was
remanded to this court, with instructions, by the Supreme
Court of Alabama. See Ex parte Cottrell, [Ms.
1111006, Feb. 28, 2014] 188 So.3d 661, (Ala. 2014)
(reversing Green v. Cottrell, [Ms. 2100920, Feb. 10,
2012] 188 So.3d 656, (Ala.Civ.App. 2012)). On remand to this
court, and in compliance with the supreme court's opinion
and instructions, we now affirm the trial court's
judgment in appeal no. 2100920 and appeal no. 2101086.
parties and this action have been before this court on
multiple occasions. For the detailed history of this case,
see Stokes v. Cottrell, 58 So.3d 123 (Ala.Civ.App.
2008) (" Stokes I" ) (affirming in part and
reversing in part the trial court's judgment and
remanding the cause with instructions), judgment vacated in
part, writ quashed in part, and cause remanded with
instructions by Ex parte Green, 58 So.3d 135 (Ala. 2010)
(plurality opinion in part); Stokes v. Cottrell, 58
So.3d 166 (Ala.Civ.App. 2010) (" Stokes II" )
(opinion on remand from the supreme court, dismissing appeals
in part and remanding with instructions); and Green v.
Cottrell, [Ms. 2100920, Feb. 10, 2012] 188 So.3d 656,
(Ala.Civ.App. 2012) (" Green I" ) (reversing
judgment in part and dismissing appeal no. 2100920 as moot),
judgment reversed and cause remanded with instructions by
Ex parte Cottrell, [Ms. 1111006, Feb. 28, 2014] 188
So.3d 661, (Ala. 2014). The background of this case is
sufficiently set forth in those previous decisions and, for
the sake of brevity, will not be restated here.
2010, after this court remanded the cause to the trial court
to address the remaining issues and to enter a final
judgment, see Stokes II, the trial court conducted an
evidentiary hearing on March 21, 2011; ore tenus evidence was
presented at that hearing. The purpose of that hearing was to
determine if E'Stella Alexander Webb Cottrell ("
Cottrell" ) had acquired any interest in the three
non-farmed parcels (" the three parcels" ) and, if
so, the extent of her interest. At the conclusion of the
ore tenus hearing, the trial court requested that the parties
submit posttrial briefs.
4, 2011, the trial court entered a final judgment finding
that Johnny Alexander, Sr. (" Johnny Sr." ), and
then Johnnie Mae Alexander Green, Lillie Robinson, Oscar C.
Alexander, Bertha Mae Humphrey, Shirley Alexander, Cathy
Alexander, Johnny Alexander, Jr. (" Johnny Jr." ),
and Althea Alexander (hereinafter referred to collectively as
" the Alexander plaintiffs" ) had jointly possessed
the three parcels for the benefit of both themselves and
Cottrell; the trial court also found that Johnny Sr. and
Cottrell had engaged in a joint enterprise in possessing the
three parcels after the death of Estelle Haggerty Alexander
(" Estelle" ) in 1962. The trial court concluded
that, as of 1982, 20 years after Estelle's death, Johnny
Sr. and Cottrell had acquired joint title to the three
parcels through adverse possession. The Alexander plaintiffs
and Frank Stokes, Jr. (" Stokes" ), timely filed
their notices of appeal.
appeal no. 2101086, Stokes challenges the trial court's
finding that, through adverse possession, the Alexander
plaintiffs and Cottrell had established a claim to the three
parcels superior to that held by Stokes, one of the heirs of
Larenda Jenkins, who was Estelle's only living heir at
the time of her death. In appeal no. 2100920, the Alexander
plaintiffs assert that the trial court erred in finding that
they and Johnny Sr. had acted on behalf of Cottrell in
adversely possessing the three parcels and that the trial
court erred in finding the existence of a " joint
enterprise" in which Johnny Sr. and Cottrell had
acquired title to the three parcels through adverse
" Where a trial court hears ore tenus testimony, as in
this case, its findings [of fact] based upon that testimony
are presumed correct, and its judgment based on those
findings will be reversed only if, after a consideration of
all the evidence and after making all inferences that can
logically be drawn from the evidence, the judgment is found
to be plainly and palpably erroneous. The trial court's
judgment will be affirmed if there is credible evidence to
support the judgment. Furthermore, where the trial court does
not make specific findings of fact concerning an issue, this
Court will assume that the trial court made those findings
necessary to support its judgment unless such findings would
be clearly erroneous. The presumption of correctness is
particularly strong in boundary line disputes and adverse
possession cases, because the evidence in such cases is
difficult for an appellate court to review."
Bearden v. Ellison, 560 So.2d 1042, 1043-44 (Ala.
1990) (citations omitted).