from Jefferson Circuit Court (CV-17-900795)
February 2017, Angela Taylor sued Hibbett Sporting Goods,
Inc. ("Hibbett"), and fictitiously named defendants
in the Jefferson Circuit Court ("the trial court"),
alleging that she had been injured in the course of her
employment and seeking benefits under the Alabama
Workers' Compensation Act, Ala. Code 1975, § 25-5-1
et seq., and damages for retaliatory discharge. Hibbett moved
to dismiss the claims against it, arguing that a separate
legal entity, Hibbett Wholesale, Inc., was Taylor's
employer at the time of her injury. After a hearing on the
motion, the trial court ordered on May 5, 2017, that Taylor
amend her complaint to name her actual employer within 21
days. Taylor failed to amend her complaint, and Hibbett
notified the trial court of Taylor's failure to do so on
July 25, 2017. The trial court dismissed Taylor's
complaint on July 31, 2017.
August 31, 2017, Taylor filed a postjudgment motion directed
to the July 31, 2017, dismissal order. The trial court held a
hearing on the motion and purported to deny the motion by
order on November 6, 2017. Taylor then filed her notice of
appeal to this court on December 18, 2017. We transferred the
appeal to our supreme court for lack of appellate
jurisdiction, see Ala. Code 1975, § 12-3-10, and our
supreme court transferred the appeal back to this court
pursuant to Ala. Code 1975, § 12-2-7(6).
Hibbett points out in its appellate brief, Taylor filed her
postjudgment motion on August 31, 2007, more than 30 days
after the trial court dismissed her complaint against
Hibbett. See Rule 59(b), Ala. R. Civ. P. (providing
that a postjudgment motion filed pursuant to Rule 59 must be
"filed not later than thirty (30) days after the entry
of the judgment"). Although Taylor filed a declaration
of technical difficulties indicating that the Alafile
electronic-filing system had been unavailable between 7:59
p.m., August 30, 2017, and 7:57 a.m., August 31, 2017, as
Hibbett points out, Taylor's filing of the declaration
and the postjudgment motion failed to comply with the timing
requirements set out in the Administrative Policies and
Procedures for Electronic Filing in the Civil Divisions of
the Alabama Unified Judicial System ("the
electronic-filing policy manual"), which is available
online at http://efile.alacourt.gov. The
electronic-filing policy manual reads:
"If a party misses a Court imposed filing deadline
because of an inability to electronically file based upon the
unavailability of the system, the party may submit the
untimely filed document, accompanied by a declaration stating
the reason or reasons for missing the deadline. The document
and declaration must be filed no later than 12:00 noon of the
first day on which the court of jurisdiction is open for
business following the original filing deadline."
did not file her postjudgment motion and declaration until
5:24 p.m. on August 31, 2017, several hours after the noon
untimely filed postjudgment motion will not toll the time for
taking an appeal. Boykin v. International Paper Co.,
777 So.2d 149, 150 (Ala. Civ. App. 2000). Because the trial
court and the parties failed to acknowledge the untimeliness
of Taylor's postjudgment motion, the trial court
conducted a hearing and entered an order purporting to deny
that motion, which delayed the filing of Taylor's notice
of appeal until December 2017. Taylor's appeal was filed
more than 42 days after the entry of the trial court's
judgment dismissing her complaint. See Rule 4(a)(1),
Ala. R. App. P. (providing that a notice of appeal must be
filed within 42 days of the entry of the judgment).
Accordingly, we must dismiss this appeal as having been
untimely filed. Boykin, 777 So.2d at 151.
Thompson, P.J., and Moore and Donaldson, JJ., concur.
Pittman, J., concurs specially.
PITTMAN, Judge, concurring specially.
concur, but I write separately to draw attention to two
salient issues. First, the provision of the electronic-filing
policy manual quoted in the main opinion, by its terms,
speaks only to the tardy filing of a document, accompanied by
a declaration of technical difficulties, "[i]f a party
misses a Court imposed filing deadline."
(Emphasis added.) In concurring, I have necessarily assumed
that the 30-day period set forth in Rule 59(e), Ala. R. Civ.
P., governing the filing of postjudgment motions to alter,
amend, or vacate, is within the scope of "a Court
imposed filing deadline" because Rule 59(e) was
promulgated by "a Court" (i.e., our
supreme court, cf. Rule 86, Ala. R. Civ. P.).
Further, I have also assumed that the tardy filing of a
postjudgment motion accompanied by a declaration of technical
difficulties is self-executing, without involving any action
on the part of the trial court, because Rule 6(b), Ala. R.
Civ. P., which speaks to the general power of trial courts to
enlarge the time for performing specified acts under the