WRONGFUL DEATH - FEE TO PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE - RODGERS V. MCELROY
Rodgers v. McElroy, [Ms. 2110364, Aug. 10, 2012] ___ So. 3d ___ (Ala. Civ. App. 2012). Elizabeth McElroy, the county administrator for Jefferson County, served as the personal representative of a decedent's estate and filed a wrongful-death action. The circuit court awarded a fee of $15,750.00, "which equaled 9% of the total of $175,000 in wrongful-death proceeds that had been collected." Rodgers, one of the decedent's next of kin, challenged the fee award. The Court of Civil Appeals affirmed, addressing as an issue of first impression whether "a personal representative who initiates a wrongful-death action is entitled to a fee paid from the proceeds collected from that action." The Court held that the administrator's "work constitutes an 'extraordinary service' as contemplated by ¤ 43-2-848(b)," which provides for the payment of a reasonable compensation to a personal representative. Rodgers also sought to challenge the fee as excessive, but because he did not do so in the circuit court, the Court of Civil Appeals does not address that argument.