from Baldwin Circuit Court. (CV-14-900265).
P.J., and Pittman, Thomas, Moore, and Donaldson, JJ., concur.
Rouse was employed by the Town of Elberta (" the
town" ) in 2009 as a police officer. The town terminated
Rouse's employment on August 15, 2013. After his
employment was terminated, Rouse sought, and was denied,
unemployment-compensation benefits from the Alabama
Department of Labor (" the department" ). Rouse
appealed the denial of unemployment-compensation benefits to
an administrative hearing officer (" AHO" ) for the
department. The AHO reversed the initial denial and found
that Rouse was eligible to receive benefits; the town's
subsequent appeal to the department's Board of Appeals
(" the board" ) was denied.
town filed an appeal of the board's decision in the
Baldwin Circuit Court (" the trial court" ) on
February 28, 2014; the department answered on April 4,
2014. The trial court held a trial, at which
it received evidence ore tenus, on September 29, 2014, see
§ 25-4-95, Ala. Code 1975 (providing for appeal to the
circuit court in employment-compensation cases and stating
that " [t]rial in the circuit court shall be de
novo" ), and it entered a judgment in favor of the
department on October 3, 2014, stating that the town had
" failed to establish sufficient evidence to support the
requirements under Ala. Code 1975, § 25-4-78, for
disqualification of benefits." The town filed a motion
to alter, amend, or vacate the judgment on November 3, 2014,
which was denied by an order entered on November 18, 2014.
The town timely filed a notice of appeal to this court on
November 26, 2014. The town argues on appeal that the trial
court's findings were contrary to the great weight of the
evidence and that the trial court applied incorrect standards
first note that the findings of a trial court in an
unemployment-compensation case tried orally before a trial
court, sitting without a jury, are presumed correct unless
shown to be clearly contrary to the great weight of the
evidence, see Adams v. Allen, 586 So.2d 17, 19
(Ala.Civ.App. 1991); however, the facts in the present case
are essentially undisputed. " [O]n appeal, the ruling on
a question of law carries no presumption of correctness, and
this Court's review is de novo." Ex parte
Graham, 702 So.2d 1215, 1221 (Ala. 1997) (citing
Helms v. Helms' Kennels, Inc., 646 So.2d 1343
(Ala. 1994), and First Mercury Syndicate, Inc. v.
Franklin Cnty., 623 So.2d 1075 (Ala. 1993)).
25-4-78, Ala. Code 1975, provides, in pertinent part:
" An individual shall be disqualified for total or
" (3) Discharge For Misconduct.
" b. If he was discharged from his most recent bona fide
work for actual or threatened misconduct committed in
connection with his work ... repeated after previous warning
to the individual. ..."
record indicates that, while working the night shift on June
16, 2013, Rouse was ...