Courtyard Manor Homeowners' Association, Inc.
City of Pelham
from Shelby Circuit Court (CV-18-900823)
Manor Homeowners' Association, Inc. ("Courtyard
Manor"),  appeals from the Shelby Circuit
Court's dismissal of its complaint filed against the City
of Pelham ("the City"). We affirm.
August 2018, Courtyard Manor filed a complaint against the
City after the City failed to conduct a hearing or otherwise
to respond to Courtyard Manor's petition, filed with the
City in September 2017, seeking to be deannexed from the
City's municipal limits. Courtyard Manor averred in its
complaint that the City had agreed to apply its deannexation
criteria to the matter, that the City had a duty to set the
matter for a hearing, and that the City had de facto denied
the petition by failing to take any action on
Courtyard Manor requested that the circuit court conduct a
hearing on the petition and enter an order deannexing
Courtyard Manor from the City. Alternatively, Courtyard Manor
requested that the circuit court order the Pelham City
Council to hold a hearing on the petition and to report its
decision to the circuit court.
City moved the circuit court to dismiss the complaint
pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), Ala. R. Civ. P.,  for failure to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The City
argued that, in deciding whether to deannex property, a
municipal governing body acts in a legislative capacity, that
a municipal governing body has discretion to determine if and
when to deannex property, that the governing body's
discretion in determining if and when to deannex property is
not subject to interference by the courts, that the
City's governing body has not determined that the
corporate limits of the City should be reduced in the manner
requested by Courtyard Manor, and that the City had no duty
to hold a hearing on Courtyard Manor's petition. The
circuit court granted the City's motion to dismiss. This
Standard of Review
"On appeal, a dismissal is not entitled to a presumption
of correctness. Jones v. Lee County Commission, 394
So.2d 928, 930 (Ala. 1981); Allen v. Johnny Baker
Hauling, Inc., 545 So.2d 771, 772 (Ala. Civ. App. 1989).
The appropriate standard of review under Rule 12(b)(6) is
whether, when the allegations of the complaint are viewed
most strongly in the pleader's favor, it appears that the
pleader could prove any set of circumstances that would
entitle her to relief. Raley v. Citibanc of
Alabama/Andalusia, 474 So.2d 640, 641 (Ala. 1985);
Hill v. Falletta, 589 So.2d 746 (Ala. Civ. App.
1991). In making this determination, this Court does not
consider whether the plaintiff will ultimately prevail, but
only whether she may possibly prevail. Fontenot v.
Bramlett, 470 So.2d 669, 671 (Ala. 1985); Rice v.
United Ins. Co. of America, 465 So.2d 1100, 1101 (Ala.
1984). We note that a Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal is proper only
when it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no
set of facts in support of the claim that would entitle the
plaintiff to relief. Garrett v. Hadden, 495 So.2d
616, 617 (Ala. 1986); Hill v. Kraft, Inc., 496 So.2d
768, 769 (Ala. 1986)."
Nance v. Matthews, 622 So.2d 297, 299 (Ala. 1993).
This Court reviews de novo questions of law concerning
statutory construction. Continental Nat'l Indem. Co.
v. Fields, 926 So.2d 1033 (Ala. 2005).
11-42-200, Ala. Code 1975, a part of Alabama's statutory
scheme for the reduction of municipal corporate limits or
"Whenever in the opinion of the council or governing
body of any city or town the public health or public good
requires that the corporate limits of such town or city be
reduced and the boundaries thereof reestablished, said
council shall pass a resolution defining the proposed
language of the statute contemplates that, when the governing
body of a municipality determines that the public health or
public good requires the reduction of corporate limits, the
governing body will pass a resolution defining the proposed
new limits. Nothing in the plain language of the statute
contemplates the filing of a petition for deannexation or
requires any action on the part of the governing body in the
event such a petition is filed. Rather, the mere passage of a
resolution defining the proposed new municipal limits
satisfies the statutory mandate.
Court has never addressed the concept of court-ordered
deannexation or whether or to what extent there can be
judicial review of a governing body's de facto denial of
a petition for deannexation by failing to take any action on
the petition or to pass a resolution reducing the municipal
limits. The Court has, however, considered the extent to
which courts may review the decision of a municipality's
governing body to deannex part of the municipality. See
Evans v. Stone, 473 So.2d 495, 497 (Ala. 1985)
("We hold that when the governing body of a city or town
resolves to reduce its corporate limits, it acts in its
legislative capacity, just as it does when it determines to
enlarge its corporate limits. See [City of Birmingham v.]
Mead [Corp., 372 So.2d 825 (Ala. 1979)]. Consequently,
when the reasonableness of the proposed reduction is fairly
debatable, the courts will defer to the judgment of the
governing body of the city or town and will interfere with
its decision only to cure an abuse of discretion."). The
Court also has considered the extent to which courts may
review decisions by municipalities to annex territory.
City of Birmingham v. Mead Corp., 372 So.2d 825, 829
(Ala. 1979) (indicating that governing bodies of
municipalities have broad discretion in deciding whether to
annex property). In the present case, Courtyard Manor fails
to provide any argument concerning § 11-42-200, and,
more specifically, it fails to acknowledge our courts'
deference to a municipal governing body's legislative
role and discretion in matters relating to annexation and
deannexation. See Spradlin v. Birmingham Airport
Auth., 613 So.2d 347 (Ala. 1993)(noting that it is
neither this Court's duty nor its function to perform an
appellant's legal research); see also Rule 28(a)(10),
Ala. R. App. P.
than addressing § 11-42-200, Courtyard Manor argues that
Article I, § 25, Ala. Const. 1901, establishes its right
to petition the City for deannexation and to seek judicial
review when the City fails to take any action on the
petition. Section 25 provides: "[T]he citizens have a
right, in a peaceable manner, to assemble together for the
common good, and to apply to those invested with the power of
government for redress of grievances or other purposes, by
petition, address, or
remonstrance." (Emphasis added.) Courtyard
Manor argues that § 25 requires "that the agencies
of Government petitioned or remonstrated with by citizens owe
those citizens the duty to listen and respond."
Courtyard Manor, however, cites no legal authority supporting
its contention that the City's failure to respond to
Courtyard Manor's petition for deannexation implicates
§ 25. Spradlin, supra; Rule 28(a)(10),
Ala. R. App. P. ...