Ala. R. Civ. P. 17(c); Guardian ad Litem


Ex parte CityR Eagle Landing, LLC, [Ms. 1180630, Oct. 25, 2019] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2019). The Court (Bolin, J.; Shaw, Wise, Sellers, and Mendheim, JJ., concur; Parker, C.J., and Bryan, Stewart, Mitchell, JJ., concur in the result) grants a petition for a writ of mandamus and directs the Montgomery Circuit Court to rescind an order appointing a guardian ad litem to represent the interests of minor residents of an apartment complex because there was no evidence of any inherent conflict between those minor children and their parents who were parties to the action against the owner and manager of the apartment complex, such that there was no justification or demonstrated need for appointment of a guardian ad litem under Ala. R. Civ. P. 17(c). The Court drew the distinction of when a guardian ad litem ought to be appointed to prepare a report on behalf of a minor when a proposed pro ami settlement is presented to a trial court with a request that it be approved as fair and reasonable and conservative of the minor's best interests (see Maryland Casualty Co. v. Tiffin, 537 So. 2d 469, 471 (Ala. 1988); Abernathy v. Colbert Cty. Hosp. Bd., 388 So. 2d 1207, 1209 (Ala. 1980); Tennessee Coal, Iron & R.R. v. Hayes, 97 Ala. 201, 12 So. 98 (1892); and Burlington Northern R.R. v. Warren, 574 So. 2d 758 (Ala. 1990)) (Ms. **18-19).

The Court concludes the trial court exceeded its discretion in appointing the guardian ad litem to represent the minor residents "when there was no conflict of interest between the minor residents and their parents." Because "[a]t this point in the proceedings, such a practice would allow a stranger to the parent-child relationship to have the right to represent the parent's child in a legal action." Ms. *17.

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