(251) 299-0101

Standing - Unlicensed Contractor - Mandamus

Ex parte Barton J. Weeks, [Ms. 2180658, Aug. 30, 2019] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. Civ. App. 2019). The court (Edwards, J.; Thompson, P.J., and Moore, J., concur; Hanson, J., concurs specially; Donaldson, J., concurs in the result) denies mandamus review of the Shelby Circuit Court’s order denying a motion for summary judgment in a contract action.

Rustic Mountain Roof and Restoration, LLC (“RMR”) filed a complaint in the Shelby Circuit Court for breach of contract and for work and labor done under a construction contract. Ms. *3. The Defendants moved for summary judgment predicated on RMR’s failure to possess a license from the Home Builders Licensure Board. Ms. *4. Section 34-14A-14(d), Ala. Code 1975, provides in pertinent part that: “‘[a] residential home builder, who does not have the license required, shall not bring or maintain any action to enforce the provisions of any contract for residential home building which he or she entered into in violation of this chapter.’” Ms. *5.

The Defendants sought mandamus review of the Shelby Circuit Court’s denial of their motion for summary judgment contending the motion challenged RMR’s standing which implicated the subject-matter jurisdiction of the circuit court. Ms. *9. The court rejected this argument and noted that “the Supreme Court has recently and repeatedly clarified that the doctrine of standing, as a jurisdictional concept, remains applicable in public-law cases ..., but generally has no application, as a jurisdictional concept, in private-law cases such as the present case.” Ms. *11. The court denied mandamus review because RMR’s lack of a license “is not a matter of subject-matter jurisdiction but, rather, is a matter of whether RMR has a cognizable claim.” Ms. *14.

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