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Taul ex rel. United States of America v. Nagel Enterprises, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division

February 20, 2019

BARRY TAUL, ex rel., UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
NAGEL ENTERPRISES, INC., et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          VIRGINIA EMERSON HOPKINS SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This is a civil action initiated by Plaintiff Barry Taul, ex rel., United States of America, against Defendants Nagel Enterprises, Inc., and Jed Nagel. However, on October 21, 2018, Mr. Nagel died. (See doc. 233-1 at 1) (see also doc. 225-1 at 2-3). Mr. Nagel died intestate, and, at the time of his death, he was domiciled in Michigan. (See doc. 233-2 at 3). On November 27, 2018, a Michigan probate court appointed one of his daughters, Laura E. Nagel, as the personal representative for his Estate. (Id.)

         Before the Court are four motions: (1) Plaintiff's Motion To Substitute Party Defendant and Appoint Administrator Ad Litem (doc. 226) (the “Motion To Appoint Administrator Ad Litem”) filed on November 5, 2018; (2) Plaintiff's Supplemental Motion To Substitute Party Defendant and Appoint Administrator Ad Litem (doc. 230) (the “Supplemental Motion To Appoint Administrator Ad Litem”) filed on December 3, 2018; (3) Laura E. Nagel's Motion for Substitution (doc. 233) filed on December 19, 2018; and (4) Plaintiff's Renewed Motion To Substitute Party Defendant and Appoint Administrator Ad Litem (doc. 234) (the “Renewed Motion To Appoint Administrator Ad Litem”) filed on December 20, 2018.

         Because Plaintiff filed his Renewed Motion To Appoint Administrator Ad Litem, which includes the arguments he made in his previous two motions, his Motion To Appoint Administrator Ad Litem and his Supplemental Motion To Appoint Administrator Ad Litem are DENIED AS MOOT.[1]

         This leaves two motions for the Court to rule on: Ms. Nagel's Motion for Substitution and Plaintiff's Renewed Motion To Appoint Administrator Ad Litem.

         In her Motion for Substitution, Ms. Nagel requests that the Court, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 25(a) “substitute[]” “Laura E. Nagel, as personal representative of the Estate of Jed Nagel, . . . for [Mr. Nagel].” (Doc. 233 at 2).[2]

         In his Renewed Motion To Appoint Administrator Ad Litem, Plaintiff requests that the Court, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 25(a) and Alabama Code § 43-2-250, “substitut[e] [Mr. Nagel] with an administrator ad litem as a party defendant.” (Doc. 234 at 5).

         For the reasons stated in this Opinion, Ms. Nagel's Motion for Substitution is due to be GRANTED, and Plaintiff's Renewed Motion To Appoint Administrator Ad Litem is due to be DENIED.

         I. STANDARD

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 25(a) provides in relevant part as follows:

(a) Death.
(1) Substitution if the Claim Is Not Extinguished. If a party dies and the claim is not extinguished, the court may order substitution of the proper party. A motion for substitution may be made by any party or by the decedent's successor or representative. If the motion is not made within 90 days after service of a statement noting the death, the action by or against the decedent must be dismissed.
. . .
(3) Service. A motion to substitute, together with a notice of hearing, must be served on the parties as provided in Rule 5 and on nonparties as provided in Rule 4. A statement noting death must be served in the same manner. Service may be made in any judicial district.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 25(a)(1), (a)(3).

         Alabama Code § 43-2-250 provides as follows:

When, in any proceeding in any court, the estate of a deceased person must be represented, and there is no executor or administrator of such estate, or he is interested adversely thereto, it shall be the duty of the court to appoint an administrator ad litem of such estate for the particular proceeding, without bond, whenever the facts rendering such appointment necessary shall appear in the record of such case or shall be made known to the court by the affidavit of any person interested therein.

         Ala. Code § 43-2-250. In construing Alabama Code § 43-2-250, the Supreme Court of Alabama has noted its limited application:

[T]he strict interpretation of § 43-2-250 admits of two, and only two, circumstances where it is appropriate for a court to appoint an administrator ad litem. The first is when the estate of a deceased person must be represented and there is no executor or administrator of such estate; the second is when the estate of a deceased person must be represented and the executor or administrator is interested adversely to the estate.

Golden Gate Nat'l Senior Care, LLC v. Roser, 94 So.3d 365, 370 (Ala. 2012) (emphases omitted).

         II. ANALYSIS

         The Court notes that the disagreement between Plaintiff and Ms. Nagel is about the “proper party” who should be substituted as a party defendant. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 25(a)(1). However, the Court will first address whether the motions have met Rule 25(a)'s procedural requirements. The Court will then address who should be substituted for Mr. Nagel as a party defendant.

         A. Rule 25(a)'s Procedural ...


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