Order Declaring Judgment Satisfied Is Appealable


1st Franklin Fin. Corp. v. Pettway, [Ms. 2190871, Feb. 26, 2021], ___ So. 3d ___ (Ala. Civ. App. 2021). The court (Edwards, J.; Thompson, P.J., and Moore, Hanson, and Fridy, JJ., concur) reverses the Jefferson Circuit Court’s order dismissing 1st Franklin Financial Corporation’s (“1st Franklin”) appeal from the Jefferson District Court’s order granting Pettway’s motion for relief from judgment asserting that the judgment was paid in full as a result of prior garnishments. The circuit court dismissed 1st Franklin’s appeal on the ground that it was from a nonfinal judgment. The court reverses and first explains “ [a]n appellate court looks to the essence of a motion, not necessarily its title, to determine how the motion is to be considered under the Alabama Rules of Civil Procedure.” Ms. *4 (internal quotation marks omitted).

The court concludes the order was a final judgment because

“A final judgment is a terminative decision by a court of competent jurisdiction which demonstrates there has been complete adjudication of all matters in controversy between the litigants within the cognizance of that court. That is, it must be conclusive and certain in itself.” Jewell v. Jackson & Whitsitt Cotton Co., 331 So. 2d 623, 625 (Ala. 1976). ... The district court’s April 2020 order granting Pettway’s motion to deem the 2012 judgment satisfied adjudicated the issue presented to it and settled the matters in controversy between the parties by terminating Pettway’s duty to make further payments on the 2012 judgment and by prohibiting1st Franklin from collecting on any outstanding balance of that judgment, assuming one exists.

Ms. **6-7.

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