Civil Procedure & Wrongful Death - Ingram v. Van Dall

In Ingram v. Van Dall, [Ms. 1091563, Apr. 8, 2011] __ So. 3d __(Ala. 2011), Jackie Ingram was killed on August 20, 2009, in a three car collision on I-59 in St. Clair County. The same crash also killed James Kesler and injured Norma Hazelwood, the drivers of the other vehicles. For the 29 years preceding the crash, Ingram lived and worked in Jefferson County. On October 8, 2009, Ingram's widow filed a petition to be appointed administrator ad litem for Ingram's estate. The petition was granted. Later in the fall of 2009, Hazelwood attempted to pursue a claim against Ingram. In this regard, Van Dall filed for and received general letters of administration for the estate of Ingram in the probate court of St. Clair County. Ingram's widow did not request or consent to Van Dall's obtaining letters of administration, and subsequently filed a motion to revoke Van Dall's letters of administration. Her motion was denied by St. Clair Circuit Court. Ingram's widow then filed a writ of mandamus, arguing that Ingram, at the time of his death, was a resident of Jefferson County and had no assets in St. Clair County. In construing Ala. Code 43-2-40, the Alabama Supreme Court held that St. Clair County did not have the authority to grant Van Dall letters of administration and, consequently, lacked subject-matter jurisdiction over the matter. Thus, the case was dismissed without prejudice.

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