Reversible Error to Grant Summary Judgment Without Hearing

Cartron v. Bd. of Governors of Valley Hill Country Club, et al., [Ms. 1210192, Aug. 26, 2022] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2022). The Court (Stewart, J.; Parker, C.J., and Bolin, Wise, and Sellers, JJ., concur) reverses the Madison Circuit’s summary judgment dismissing all claims asserted by Clement J. Cartron III (“Cartron”), a former member of Valley Hill Country Club, Inc. (“Valley Hill”), and its board of governors.

The Court rejects defendants’ argument that a summary-judgment hearing was not required because Cartron had also moved for summary judgment and explains that “[t]he fact that Cartron’s motion did not assert any genuine issues of material fact is not determinative because a moving party affirms only that there are no genuine issues of material fact with respect to the matters raised in his or her own motion.” Ms. *11. The Court holds

“Rule 56 ‘is not prefaced upon whether or not the opposing party may successfully defend against summary judgment, [but] it does require that the opportunity to defend be given.’” Van Knight [v. Smoker], 778 So. 2d [801,] 806 [(Ala. 2000)] (quoting Tharp v. Union State Bank, 364 So. 2d 335, 338 (Ala. Civ. App. 1978)). Thus, Cartron was prejudiced and denied the procedural safeguards of Rule 56(c) when the trial court granted the defendants’ summary-judgment motion without first holding a hearing on the motion or otherwise notifying Cartron that it had taken the motion under submission.

Ms. **12-13.

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