Trial Court Erred in Denying Postjudgment Motion Without a Hearing


Rhodes, etc. v. Funk, [Ms. 1200384, May 20, 2022] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2022). The Court (Mitchell, J.; Parker, C.J., and Shaw, Bryan, and Mendheim, JJ., concur) reverses the Montgomery Circuit Court’s denial of John B. Rhodes’s (“Rhodes”) postjudgment motion. Rhodes filed a motion to enforce a settlement agreement approved by the circuit court in 1987. The circuit court struck Rhodes’s motion to enforce for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction, and denied his postjudgment motion without a hearing. Ms. *2.

Pursuant to Rule 59(g), Ala. R. Civ. P., a trial court errs in ruling on a postjudmgent motion without a hearing. The error can be harmless if the motion has “no probable merit.” Ms. *6. The Court reverses because “[t]he record does not support [the] contention that the circuit court's error was harmless. Both Rhodes’s motion to enforce and his postjudgment motion expressly alleged violations of the settlement agreement and sought relief that is at least plausibly consistent with the circuit court’s residual jurisdiction over that agreement.” Ms. *7.

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