Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

L.T.J. v. S.S.

Court of Civil Appeals of Alabama

September 13, 2019

L.T.J., Jr.
v.
S.S., ON BEHALF OF C.S., a Minor Child.

Page 102

         Appeal from Dale Circuit Court (DR-18-186).

         L.T.J. Jr., appellant, prose.

          David J. Harrison, Geneva, for appellee.

         MOORE, Judge.

         L.T.J., Jr., appeals from a judgment entered by Dale Circuit Court ("the trial court") in a protection-from-abuse action commenced by S.S., on behalf of C.S., a minor child. We dismiss the appeal.

         On October 31, 2018, S.S. filed, on behalf of her daughter, C.S. ("the child"), a petition for protection from abuse against L.T.J., Jr. After a trial, the trial court entered a final protection-from-abuse judgment against L.T.J., Jr., on November 26, 2018. On November 27, 2018, L.T.J., Jr., filed a postjudgment motion requesting the trial court to reconsider the November 26, 2018, judgment; that motion was denied the same day.

         On December 20, 2018, S.S. filed a motion requesting that the trial court amend its judgment to prevent S.E. and "anyone affiliated with [Grassroots Tennis Association] or IDA, including teammates and teammates parents," from contacting the child and to order the removal of "any photos of [the child], her name, and the

Page 103

video they have posted of `the child effected by racism' to be pulled off their website and ... to remove the post on YouTube [an Internet video-streaming service] as well." On December 21, 2018, the trial court purported to set the motion to amend filed by S.S. for a hearing to be held on February 11, 2019. On December 30, 2018, L.T.J., Jr., filed an "Expedited Motion to Reconsider Hearing & Protection Order."[1]

         On January 2, 2019, upon the motion of L.T.J., Jr., the trial court purported to grant an extension of time to appeal until after the hearing scheduled on February 11, 2019. The hearing was subsequently continued to March 11, 2019. On March 4, 2019, L.T.J., Jr., filed his notice of appeal to this court. On March 12, 2019, the trial court purported to amend the protection-from-abuse judgment as requested by S.S. in her December 20, 2018, motion.

         "Although the parties to this appeal have not challenged our appellate jurisdiction, we must consider whether we have jurisdiction over this appeal, because `jurisdictional matters are of such magnitude that we take notice of them at any time and do so even ex mero motu.'" Hopper v. Sims, 777 So.2d 122, 124 (Ala.Civ.App. 2000) (quoting Wallace v. Tee Jays Mfg. Co., 689 So.2d 210, 211 (Ala.Civ.App. 1997), quoting in turn Nunn v. Baker, 518 So.2d 711, 712 (Ala. 1987)). "The failure to file a notice of appeal Within the time provided in Rule 4, [Ala. R. App. P.], is a jurisdictional defect and will result in a dismissal of the appeal." Buchanan v. Young, 534 So.2d 263, 264 (Ala. 1988). Because the appeal was from a final protection-from-abuse judgment, the 42-day period for filing a notice of appeal applies. See, e.g., Placey v. Placey, 51 So.3d 374, 376 n.3 (Ala.Civ.App. 2010). Therefore, unless the time to appeal was tolled, L.T.J., Jr., had 42 days from the entry of the November 26, 2018, judgment within which to file his notice of appeal.[2]

         Initially, we note that the time to appeal was tolled by the postjudgment motion filed by L.T.J., Jr., on November 27, 2018. That motion was denied that same day. See Rule 59.1, Ala. R. Civ. P. Subsequently, on December 20, 2018, S.S. filed a motion that, in substance, sought to amend her petition for protection from abuse to add additional parties and additional requests for relief against those parties. However, "a trial court has no jurisdiction to entertain a motion to amend a complaint to add new claims or new parties after a final judgment has been entered, unless that `judgment is first set aside or vacated' pursuant to the state's rules of civil procedure." Faith Props., LLC v. First Commercial Bank, 988 So.2d 485, 490 (Ala. 2008). Because in the present case the trial court at no time "`set aside or vacated'" its November 26, 2018, judgment, it had no jurisdiction to entertain S.S.'s motion to amend, id., and thus, her motion did not toll the time for filing a notice of appeal after the entry of the postjudgment order on November 27, 2018. Additionally, we note that "a judgment entered without subject-matter jurisdiction is void." K.R. v. D.H., 988 So.2d 1050, 1052 (Ala.Civ.App. 2008).

Page 104

Because the trial court lacked jurisdiction to entertain S.S.'s motion to amend, the trial court's March 12, 2019, order purporting to amend the protection-from-abuse ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.