Trial Court Lacked Jurisdiction to Vacate Order Denying Postjudgment Motion

State of Alabama v. Orlando, [Ms. 2200524, Nov. 19, 2021] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. Civ. App. 2021). The court (Fridy, J.; Thompson, P.J., and Moore, Edwards, and Hanson, JJ., concur) dismisses as untimely the State’s appeal from the Tuscaloosa Circuit Court’s judgment denying the State’s petition seeking the forfeiture of certain cash and personal property of Ryan Orlando. The trial court denied the State’s timely postjudgment motion on February 23, 2021 and later that same day, without indicating that the first order had been entered in error or by mistake, entered another order purporting to set aside the first order denying the postjudgment motion. The trial court then entered a third order on April 1, 2021 denying the motion. The State then filed its notice of appeal on April 20, 2021.

The court holds “the trial court lost jurisdiction over the matter when it entered the first order denying the State’s motion to alter, amend, or vacate the judgment. Thus, its second order purporting to set aside the first order and its third order purporting to deny the postjudgment motion a second time are nullities.” Ms. **5-6. Consequently, the State’s appeal was untimely.

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