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Mandate Rule

Ex parte Encompass Health Corporation, [Ms. 1190797, Mar. 12, 2021], ___ So. 3d ___ (Ala. 2021). The Court (Bryan, J.; Parker, C.J., and Bolin, Shaw, and Wise, JJ., concur; Sellers, Mendheim, and Stewart, JJ., dissent; Mitchell, J., recuses) issues a writ of mandamus directing the Jefferson Circuit Court to vacate a June 2020 order entered on remand following Nichols’s successful prior appeal of a final judgment dismissing the action. In that prior appeal, the only appellee named by Nichols was HealthSouth. The June 2020 order amended a February 2016 order that had dismissed the individual defendants with prejudice. Ms. **3-4.

The Court first reiterates that “ ‘ ‘[a] petition for a writ of mandamus is the proper method for bringing before an appellate court the question whether a trial court, after remand, has complied with the mandate of this Court or of one of our intermediate appellate courts.’ ’ ” Ms. *9, quoting Ex parte International Refin. & Mfg. Co.,153 So. 3d 774, 783 (Ala. 2014) (quoting in turn Ex parte Edwards, 727 So. 2d 794 (Ala. 1998)).

The Court holds “[b]ecause the mandate rule is merely a ‘specific application’ of the law-of-the-case doctrine, the same reasoning applies to the mandate rule: a ruling on an issue that could have been, but was not, raised on appeal becomes the law of the case, and a trial court violates the law-of-the-case doctrine and the mandate rule by purporting to relitigate that issue on remand.” Ms. *16. Accordingly, the Court “conclude[s] that the trial court violated the mandate of this Court in Nichols [v. HealthSouth Corp., 281 So. 3d 350 (Ala. 2018)] when it amended the February 2016 order dismissing the individual defendants with prejudice.” Ms. *22.

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