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Appeal From Decision of Civil Service Board - Subject-Matter Jurisdiction

Dockery v. City of Jasper, [Ms. 2180844, Feb. 28, 2020] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. Civ. App. 2020). In a per curiam opinion, the court (Hanson, J., concurs; Edwards, J., concurs specially; Thompson, P.J., and Donaldson, J., concur in the result, without writing; Moore, J., concurs in part and dissents in part) reverses a judgment of the Walker Circuit Court affirming a decision of the Jasper Civil Service Board terminating the employment of Dockery as a police officer with the City of Jasper. The court affirms the circuit court’s dismissal of damages claims against the City asserted by Dockery in his circuit court appeal of the Civil Service Board’s decision affirming his termination.

In the proceeding before it, the Board did not require the City to file written charges or a written complaint against Officer Dockery detailing the reasons for his termination. The court held that “the Board’s error in not requiring the City to file written charges or a written complaint was reversible error.” Ms. *38.

Notwithstanding that reversible error, the court affirmed the dismissal of the officer’s damages claims because those claims were not properly before the circuit court in the first place. The court noted that “Dockery’s appeal to the trial court from the Board’s decision invoked only the limited appellate jurisdiction of the trial court to review the September 2003 order, not the original jurisdiction of the trial court. ... The appellate jurisdiction of the appellate court may not be enlarged by pointing to that court’s original jurisdiction.” Ms. *40 (internal citation and quotation marks omitted).

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