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Award of Fees Under Prevailing-Party Provision

SMM Gulf Coast, LLC v. Dade Capital Corp. and David Fournier; Collier, et al. v. Dade Capital Corp. and David Fournier, [Ms. 1170743; 1170771, June 5, 2020] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2020). Applying de novo review, the Court (Parker, C.J.; Bolin, Wise, Bryan, Mendheim, and Stewart, JJ., concur; Sellers, J., dissents) reverses the Mobile Circuit Court’s denial of the Defendants’ request for attorney fees and other amounts pursuant to a prevailing-party provision. The Court holds that claims for attorney fees, court costs, and litigation expenses were not compulsory counterclaims that were waived when not asserted in Defendants’ answers. Ms. *16. The Court rejects the trial court’s conclusion that it lacked jurisdiction to award attorney fees after a final judgment was entered, explaining “a trial court has jurisdiction to award attorney fees and costs after entering a final judgment because such requests are collateral to the merits.” Ms. **18-19.

The Court holds “a party requesting attorney fees, court costs, and litigation expenses in accordance with a prevailing-party provision is not required to make that request within a motion invoking Rule 59(e), nor is such a party required to file that request within the 30-day postjudgment period set forth in Rule 59(e).” Ms. *25.

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