(251) 299-0101

Wrongful Death - Capacity - Administrator Ad Litem

Ex parte Continental Motors, Inc., [Ms. 1170165, June 29, 2018] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2018). This decision by Justice Parker grants in part and denies in part petitions for writs of mandamus filed by defendants challenging the capacity of the respective personal representatives of the various decedents to file and prosecute the wrongful-death actions.

In regard to the decedents, where suit was filed by an administrator ad litem, the Court granted the defendant’s petition holding that an administrator ad litem is not a legally appointed personal representative with capacity to file a wrongful-death action. Ms. *29. This holding differs from the result reached in Affinity Hospital, LLC v. Williford, 21 So. 3d 712, 715 (Ala. 2009), where an administrator ad litem prosecuted a claim for wrongful death. The Court held that Williford was not dispositive of the question of capacity because “[i]n Williford, the parties did not present this court with any authority indicating that an administrator ad litem lacks the authority to pursue a wrongful-death action under § 6-5-410.” Ms. *29.

In regard to the claims of decedents whose representatives were appointed in a Florida ancillary estate proceeding, the Court denied the petitions for writs of mandamus noting that the defendants “have not directed this court’s attention to any authority indicating that a personal representative of a foreign ancillary estate is without authority to pursue a wrongful-death claim under § 6-5-410(a). In the absence of such authority, it appears that a personal representative of a foreign ancillary estate is ‘[a] personal representative’ as that term is used in § 6-5-410(a) ....” Ms. *23. The Court added a cautionary footnote to the opinion stating that “of course, this court would consider any authority presented in a future case indicating that a personal representative of a foreign ancillary estate is not ‘[a] personal representative,’ as that term is used in § 6-5-410(a).” Ms. *23, n. 4.

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