from Jefferson Circuit Court (CV-15-904679)
Ward appeals from a judgment entered by the Jefferson Circuit
Court ("the trial court") permitting All South
Rental Homes, Inc., and Gary Alan Smith (hereinafter referred
to collectively as "All South") to redeem certain
real property located in Jefferson County ("the
property") after the property had been sold for unpaid
taxes. We affirm the trial court's judgment.
December 7, 2015, All South filed a complaint seeking
permission to redeem the property, which had been purchased
by Ward from the State of Alabama, which had purchased the
property at a tax sale. Ward answered the complaint on
December 16, 2015. On December 17, 2015, Ward filed a motion
for a summary judgment. All South responded to the
summary-judgment motion on January 13, 2016. Ward filed a
reply to All South's response on January 16, 2016.
January 29, 2016, the trial court entered a judgment granting
Ward's summary-judgment motion, concluding that All South
did not have a right to redeem the property. On February 28,
2016, All South filed a post judgment motion. The trial court
entered an order setting aside its summary judgment on May
23, 2016, and setting a hearing to determine the amount
required for All South to redeem the property. After a
hearing, the trial court entered a judgment providing that
All South could redeem the property by paying Ward $4,
23, 2016, Ward filed his notice of appeal to the Alabama
Supreme Court; that court subsequently transferred the appeal
to this court, pursuant to Ala. Code 1975, § 12-2-7(6).
undisputed facts indicate that, after All South failed to pay
the ad valorem taxes due on the property, the State of
Alabama offered the property for sale on May 22, 2012. After
no bids were offered, the property was purchased by the
State. On August 7, 2015, the State sold the property to
Ward. Ward received an ad valorem tax deed; that deed was
recorded on August 24, 2015. On August 28, 2015, Ward entered
into a three-year lease agreement regarding the property with
Brooke Holloway, and, at the time of the entry of the trial
court's judgment, Holloway had been in possession of the
property since that date.
appeal, Ward first argues that All South was not entitled to
redeem the property pursuant to §§ 40-10-82 and
40-10-83, Ala. Code 1975, because, he says, All South was not
in possession of the property at the time of redemption.
"No action for the recovery of real estate sold for the
payment of taxes shall lie unless the same is brought within
three years from the date when the purchaser became entitled
to demand a deed therefor; but if the owner of such real
estate was, at the time of such sale, under the age of 19
years or insane, he or she, his or her heirs, or legal
representatives shall be allowed one year after such
disability is removed to bring an action for the recovery
thereof; but this section shall not apply to any action
brought by the state, to cases in which the owner of the real
estate sold had paid the taxes, for the payment of which such
real estate was sold prior to such sale, or to cases in which
the real estate sold was not, at the time of the assessment
or of the sale, subject to taxation. There shall be no time
limit for recovery of real estate by an owner of land who has
retained possession. If the owner of land seeking to redeem
has retained possession, character of possession need not be
actual and peaceful, but may be constructive and scrambling
and, where there is no real occupancy of land, constructive
possession follows title of the original owner and may only
be cut off by adverse possession of the tax purchaser for
three years after the purchaser is entitled to
40-10-82[, Ala. Code 1975, ] has been construed as a
'short' statute of limitations (Williams v. Mobil
OilExploration & Producing Southeast,
Inc., 457 So.2d 962 (Ala. 1984)), and does not begin to
run until the purchaser of the property at a tax sale has
become entitled to demand a deed to the land .... Gulf
Land Co. v. Buzzelli, 501 So.2d 1211 (Ala.
1987).'" Southside Cmty. Dev. Corp. v.
White, 10 So.3d 990, 992 (Ala. 2008) (quoting Reese
v. Robinson, 523 So.2d 398, 400 (Ala. 1988)); see
also McGuire v. Rogers, 794 So.2d 1131, 1136 (Ala. Civ.
App. 2000). In Southside, under similar
circumstances, out supreme court determined that "the
three-year statutory period of § 40-10-82 ... begins to
run when the tax purchaser becomes entitled to a deed, "
not "when the property is transferred to the State for
failure to pay taxes." 10 So.3d 991. ...