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Tyson v. Jenkins

Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

March 27, 2015

Ander Lee Tyson and Melody Lee Tyson
v.
Slater Jenkins et al

          Appeals from Choctaw Circuit Court. (CV-11-56 and CV-13-9000070).

         PITTMAN, Judge. Thompson, P.J., and Thomas, Moore, and Donaldson, JJ., concur.

          OPINION

Page 183

          PITTMAN, Judge.

         In these two consolidated appeals, Ander Lee Tyson and Melody Lee Tyson (" the Tysons" ) ask this court to reverse what they assert are erroneous judgments of the Choctaw Circuit Court in two civil actions. We dismiss both appeals for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.

         On December 13, 2011, Slater Jenkins (" Slater" ) initiated an action (" the quiet-title action" ) in the Choctaw Circuit Court. In his complaint, Slater asserted that he and his two brothers (sometimes hereinafter referred to collectively as " the Jenkinses" ) own, as tenants in common, a piece of real property consisting of eight acres in Choctaw County. According to the complaint, Slater's parents purchased the property in 1962, constructed a house on it shortly thereafter, and eventually deeded it to Slater and his brothers in 2001.[1]

Page 184

          Slater further alleged that, in November 2011, he had received correspondence from the Tysons, in which they claimed to have recently purchased, as part of a larger tract of land, the portion of the real property upon which the house sits (" the property" ). The Tysons gave Slater and his family 30 days to remove their belongings from the property before the Tysons had the house destroyed.

         Slater requested the trial court to quiet title to the property and to declare Slater and his brothers as its owners. He also purported to state five other causes of action against the Tysons -- namely, claims asserting a " bare right of possession," " bare possession," trespass, adverse possession, and the tort of outrage. Slater eventually amended his complaint to add a sixth count alleging " timber trespass." Pursuant to those causes of action, Slater requested the trial court to restore possession of the property to Slater and his brothers, to permanently enjoin the Tysons from entering the property, to establish the boundary lines of the property, and to award Slater compensatory and punitive damages, attorney's fees, and costs.[2]

          On January 12, 2013, the Tysons answered the complaint. On May 10, 2013, the trial court entered a consent judgment stating that the parties had reached a settlement agreement resolving all issues presented in the quiet-title action. The judgment incorporated the settlement agreement, defined the boundaries of the property at issue, and directed the Tysons to remove a portion of a fence they had erected on the property. The judgment was signed by the trial court and the attorneys for all parties.

         On September 13, 2013, the Jenkinses initiated a new civil action (" the contempt action" ) in the Choctaw Circuit Court in which they sought to hold the Tysons in contempt of court for allegedly violating the consent judgment that had been entered in the quiet-title action. Specifically, the Jenkinses alleged that the Tysons had failed to remove the portion of the fence referenced in the consent judgment.

         On October 28, 2013, having obtained new counsel, the Tysons filed in the contempt action a " Motion to Set Aside Judgment Due to Incompleteness Status," in which they requested the trial court in the contempt action to set aside the consent judgment that had been entered in the quiet-title action. In support of their motion, the Tysons claimed that it was their understanding that no final judgment was supposed to have been entered, if at all, in the quiet-title action " until an assessment had been made [on the property] and [the] results disclosed." On November 22, 2013, the trial court in the contempt action entered an order stating: " Motion for New Trial filed by [the Tysons] is hereby Denied." It appears to this court that that order is directed to the Tysons' motion to set aside for " incompleteness status."

         Approximately five months later, on April 28, 2014, the Tysons filed another motion in the contempt action. That motion was styled as one for relief from the judgment in the quite-title action, seeking relief under Rule 60(b), Ala. R. Civ. P. (" the Rule 60 motion" ). In the Rule 60 motion, the Tysons asserted that, although the settlement agreement underlying the consent judgment in the ...


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