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May v. May

Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

June 21, 2019

Thomas Jefferson May
v.
Terri Anita May

          Appeal from Tuscaloosa Circuit Court (DR-17-900276)

          PER CURIAM

         Thomas Jefferson May ("the husband") appeals from a judgment of the Tuscaloosa Circuit Court ("the trial court") divorcing him from Terri Anita May ("the wife"). Both parties are represented by counsel on appeal.

         For reasons to be discussed, a rendition of the facts and a presentation of the procedural history of this case are unnecessary for our decision to affirm the trial court's judgment. Rule 28(a), Ala. R. App. P., sets forth what an appellant's brief "shall contain." The rule is not merely a suggestion as to what one might wish to include in a brief. Rule 28(a) mandates that an appellant include certain specific information necessary for this court to conduct a meaningful review of the matter before us.

         Rule 28(a)(3) requires appellants in civil cases to include

"[a] statement of jurisdiction, including (I) the basis for the jurisdiction of the court to which the appeal is taken (with citations to the applicable statutory provisions and stating relevant facts establishing jurisdiction), and (ii) the filing dates establishing the timeliness of the appeal."

         The "Statement of Jurisdiction" included in the husband's appellate brief states that this is an appeal from a divorce judgment, and it includes the date the divorce judgment was entered and the date the notice of appeal was filed, as required by Rule 28(a)(3)(ii). However, the statement goes on to say that the appeal is properly before this court "because the case is a personal injury/slip-n-fall negligence case, filed, and appealed within the allowable times of all statutes controlling." Clearly, that statement does not indicate the basis for this court's jurisdiction over this matter.

         Rule 28(a)(5) requires the appellant to set forth a statement of the case. That subdivision of the rule provides, in pertinent part, that the appellant's brief shall contain

"[a] statement of the case, indicating briefly the nature of the case, the course of proceedings, and the disposition in the court below, with appropriate references to the record (see subdivision (g)). In civil cases, a statement of the case should also identify the adverse ruling or rulings from which the appeal is taken and asserted as error on appeal, with a reference to the pages of the record on appeal at which the adverse ruling or rulings can be found."

         The entire "Statement of the Case" in the husband's brief reads:

"On or about December 02, 2004 Plaintiff and Defendant were married. This marriage was tumultuous at best and did not produce any children. [Ex. 2 - Divorce Complaint, Appeal Record pgs. 5-7].
"On June 02, 2017, Plaintiff filed for divorce a second time in the marriage, after stopping it 2 years earlier. [Ex. 3 - Trial Transcript pg, [sic] 6]."

         In addition to omitting a description of the course of the proceedings and a reference to the judgment from which he appeals, the husband leaves this court to determine who in this action was the plaintiff and who was the defendant.

         Rule 28(a)(7) requires the appellant to provide this court with a statement of the facts relevant to the issues he or she raises on appeal. Specifically, that rule ...


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