from Marshall Circuit Court (CV-16-30)
Green appeals from a judgment entered by the Marshall Circuit
Court to the extent that it awarded Beard and Beard Attorneys
("Beard and Beard") attorney's fees, pursuant
to the Alabama Litigation Accountability Act ("the
ALAA"), § 12-19-270 et seq., Ala. Code 1975. We
affirm the judgment.
16, 2017, Green, who is an attorney, filed, on behalf of
Willodene Willard, a complaint in the Etowah Circuit Court
against, among other parties, Beard and Beard, the law firm
that had represented William Willard in divorce proceedings
between William and Willodene. Willodene asserted a claim of
libel against Beard and Beard and sought damages. The
complaint specifically alleged that Beard and Beard had, on
behalf of William, propounded to Willodene the following
interrogatory in the Willards' divorce action:
"2. While married to your spouse, have you engaged in
sexual relations of any kind with any other person? If so,
please state the following:
"(a) State the date and place of each such occurrence.
"(b) State the name and address (or last known address)
of each person with whom you have had such relations."
to the complaint, that interrogatory constituted libel.
29, 2016, Beard and Beard filed a motion to dismiss or, in
the alternative, to change venue. On August 19, 2016, the
action was transferred to the Marshall Circuit Court
("the trial court").
September 1, 2016, Beard and Beard filed, pursuant to Ala.
Code 1975, § 12-19-272, a part of the ALAA, a request
for attorney's fees against Green. Subsequently, Green
withdrew from representing Willodene, and Alexander Smith
filed a notice of appearance as new counsel for Willodene. On
November 23, 2016, Willodene, through Smith, filed a motion
to voluntarily dismiss her complaint against all the
defendants. On November 29, 2016, the trial court held a
hearing concerning the ALAA issue regarding Beard and Beard;
that same day, the trial court entered an order granting
Willodene's motion to dismiss and reserving ruling on the
ALAA issue pending further hearing. After a subsequent
hearing, the trial court entered an order on December 13,
2016, ordering Green to pay the attorney's fees of Beard
and Beard, pursuant to the ALAA, and stating, in pertinent
"1. [A]fter argument of counsel, the presenting of
testimony and evidence, the Court finds that the claim filed
by attorney Phil Green against Beard and Beard Attorneys was
"2. The claim for libel and slander was not authorized
by Willodene Willard, and [was] filed by Attorney Green
without [Willodene's] authorization."
January 11, 2017, Green filed a postjudgment motion
challenging the award of attorney's fees to Beard and
Beard. On January 22, 2017, he filed an amendment to the
postjudgment motion. On March 21, 2017, the trial court
entered an order reaffirming its award of attorney's fees
with regard to Beard and Beard; the order also addressed the
only other outstanding claim __ a separate claim by Stephen
Williams, the attorney for William, among others, for
attorney's fees pursuant to the ALAA. On April 20, 2017,
Green filed a subsequent postjudgment motion ...