Sale For Division – Indispensable Party – Ouster


Langford v. Broussard, [Ms. 1190623, May 21, 2021], ___ So. 3d ___ (Ala. 2021). The Court (Stewart, J.; Bolin, Wise, and Sellers, JJ., concur; Parker, C.J., concurs in the result) affirms the Hale Circuit Court’s judgment regarding administration of the Estate of Mary Walker Taylor and the sale and division of real property between Mary’s daughters Ann Langford and Harriet Broussard. The Court rejects Ann’s argument that a third daughter of the decedent should have been made a party to the administration of the estate.

... [B]ecause Mary was not a beneficiary under the will or a joint tenant of the property devised in the will, she had no actual interest in the outcome of this action for the final administration of the mother’s estate and the partition by sale of the properties jointly owned by Harriett and Ann. Therefore, the trial court could settle the estate and divide the properties – affording complete relief to Harriett and Ann – without adding Mary as a party. See [Ala. R. Civ. P.] Rule19(a)(1). Furthermore, this Court has held that “joinder of the absent parties is not absolutely necessary where determination of the controversy will not result in a loss to the absent parties’ interest or where the action does not seek a judgment against them. Morgan Plan Co. v. Bruce, 266 Ala. 494, 497-98, 97 So. 2d 805, 808 (1957).” Byrd Cos. v. Smith, 591 So. 2d 844, 846 (Ala. 1991).

Ms. *30.

Because she did not raise it in the trial court, the Court declines to reach Ann’s argument that the trial court erred in allowing Harriet to buy her interest in the farm without first determining whether the farm could be equitably partitioned in kind. Ms. *33.

Ann argued that the trial court improperly denied her right to rents due to her ouster from the farm. “‘[B]efore an occupying cotenant can be liable for rent in Alabama, he must have denied his cotenants the right to enter. It is axiomatic that there can be no denial of the right to enter unless there is a demand or an attempt to enter. Simply requesting the occupying cotenant to vacate is not sufficient because the occupying cotenant holds title to the whole and may rightfully occupy the whole unless the other cotenants assert their possessory rights.” Ms. *40, quoting Spiller v. Mackereth, 334 So. 2d 859 (Ala. 1976). The Court holds “Ann did not present or proffer evidence indicating that she had demanded the right to enter the farm property but had been denied that right. Likewise, Ann’s argument that she could demonstrate ouster by showing that she was denied the use and enjoyment of the farm property also fails because she did not present or proffer evidence indicating that she was denied the use and enjoyment of the farm property.” Ms. *41.

Related Documents