United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Eastern Division
MT. HEBRON DISTRICT MISSIONARY BAPTIST ASSOCIATION OF ALABAMA INC., Plaintiff,
SENTINEL INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.
LANDON ALEXANDER, SR., Third-Party Defendant
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
C. MARKS CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
pending before the court is the Report and Recommendation of
the Magistrate Judge (doc. 144) which recommends that the
Plaintiff's Amended and Renewed Motion for Summary
Judgment (doc. 119) be granted in part and denied in part. On
January 28, 2019, third-party Defendant Landon Alexander, Sr.
(“Alexander”) filed objections to the
Recommendation. (Doc. 145). The Court has carefully reviewed
the record in this case, including the Magistrate Judge's
Report and Recommendation, and Alexander's objections.
See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b).
party objects to a Magistrate Judge's Report and
Recommendation, the district court must review the disputed
portions de novo. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). The
district court “may accept, reject, or modify the
recommended disposition; receive further evidence; or
resubmit the matter to the magistrate judge with
instructions.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3). De novo
review requires that the district court independently
consider factual issues based on the record. Jeffrey S.
ex rel. Ernest S. v. State Bd. of Educ., 896 F.2d 507,
513 (11th Cir. 1990). See also United States v.
Gopie, 347 Fed.Appx. 495, 499 n.1 (11th Cir. 2009).
However, objections to the Magistrate Judge's Report and
Recommendation must be sufficiently specific in order to
warrant de novo review. See Macort v. Prem,
Inc., 208 Fed.Appx. 781, 783-85 (11th Cir. 2006).
Otherwise, a Report and Recommendation is reviewed for clear
error. Id. The Court undertook an independent review
of the Report and Recommendation and with respect to those
portions to which objections have been made, the Court
undertook a de novo review. For the reasons that
follow, the Court concludes that the objections are due to be
overruled, and the Recommendation is adopted. Alexander
initially objects to the Magistrate Judge's consideration
of what he characterizes as an “untimely
argument” regarding Alexander's status as an
unlicensed general contractor. This general argument is
neither a factual nor legal objection. It was within the
discretion of the Court to allow the parties an opportunity
to address all dispositive issues, particularly since
Alexander emphasized the undisputed nature of his status as
general contractor in his response to the Plaintiff's
motion for summary judgment. See Doc. 126 at 3
(“It is undisputed that Dr. Alexander was the general
contractor on the Mt. Hebron District Association Center and
he repaired and maintained the building after its
completion.”). Alexander put his status as a general
contractor at issue, and he was given the opportunity to
respond to the Plaintiff's argument that as an unlicensed
general contractor, he could not rely on his contract with
Mt. Hebron to establish an insurable interest in the
property. Consequently, Alexander cannot now complain about
an issue that he raised and to which he had ample opportunity
importantly, although Alexander contends he was prejudiced by
the Court's consideration of the issue, he does not
explain how this issue “would have changed [his] entire
strategy.” (Doc.145 at 3). To the extent that his
complaint is an objection, it is due to be overruled.
also objects to the Magistrate Judge's finding that he is
not the owner of the property at issue. (Doc. 145 at 3).
Alexander asserts for the first time in his objection that
the Plaintiff, Mt. Hebron District Baptist Association of
Alabama, is a limited liability company (“LLC”).
(Id.). There is no evidence before the Court
supporting that assertion, and the argument of counsel
without evidence is unpersuasive. The evidence before the
Court establishes that the Plaintiff operates as “a
religious corporation organized in the State of
Alabama.” (Doc. 1-1 at 1, para. 1). Furthermore, in
response to the Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment,
Alexander himself submitted the “Articles of
Incorporation of Mount Hebron District Missionary Baptist
Association of Alabama” to support his argument that he
had a construction contract with Mt. Hebron. (Doc. 126 &
127, Ex. I). Thus, the Court finds Alexander's assertion
that because he is a member of the alleged LLC, he is an
owner, is unsupported by the record.
extent that Alexander objects to the Magistrate Judge's
finding that he is not an owner of the property, and
therefore subject to the provisions of Ala. Code §
34-8-6, his objections are due to be overruled.
Relying on Alabama Administrative Code section 230-X-1-.07,
Alexander argues that as an owner of property, he may
construct a building on that property without being a
licensed general contractor. (Doc. 145 at 3).
“Alexander's actions from the day he purchased the
insurance policy on the building to the day he attempted to
collect his portion of the insurance proceeds evidence his
belief that this was his building.” (Doc. 145 at 3).
Therein lies the crux of the problem -- Alexander considered
the building to be his, but it was not.
there is no evidence before the Court that Alexander owns any
part of the real property upon which the building sits. The
warranty deed which is part of the record establishes that
the Plaintiff, Mt. Hebron District Missionary Baptist
Association of Alabama, owns the land on which the building
sits. See Doc. 1-2; Doc. 143, Ex. J. Next, section
230-X-1-.07 specifically requires an owner who awards a
contract for more than $50, 000 of work to contract with a
“properly licensed prime contractor.” Ala. Adm.
Code § 230-X-1-.07. Alexander has repeatedly alleged
that he contracted with the Plaintiff to build the building
at issue at a rate of $85.00 per square foot, for a total
cost of over $507, 472.00. (Doc. 110, First Am. Answer and
Counterclaim to Third Party Complaint at 6-7; Doc. 87-1, Aff.
Of Alexander at 2, para. 2; Doc. 121-10, Dep. Alexander at
12-14). It is undisputed that Alexander was not a licensed
contractor. (Doc. 132-1 at 39). Consequently, section
230-X-1-.07 affords Alexander no relief.
upon an independent review of the record, for the reasons as
stated and for good cause, it is ORDERED as follows:
Alexander's objections (doc. 145) are OVERRULED;
Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge (doc. 144) is ADOPTED;
Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment (doc. 119) is
GRANTED to the extent it is directed at the interpleader
Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment (doc. 119) is
DENIED with respect to any other claims pending in this
Plaintiff's motion for status (doc. 146) is ...