City of Florence v. EzellAnnotate this Case
The City of Florence, the Civil Service Board of the City of Florence ("the CSB") and Keith McDaniel appealed separately a circuit court judgment after a jury rendered its verdict in favor of William T. Ezell. In mid 2011, two positions for promotion to the job of battalion chief became available within the Florence Fire and Rescue Department. Benjamin Cochran, Melvin Brown, Tim Clanton, John T. Muse, McDaniel, and Ezell applied for the positions. The CSB conducted interviews with the candidates on September 1, 2011. Afterward, it promoted Cochran and McDaniel to the two battalion-chief positions. On September 12, 2011, Ezell filed a two-count complaint against the City and the CSB in the Lauderdale Circuit Court. A month later, the City and the CSB filed an answer in which they denied Ezell's allegations. They also asserted that Ezell had failed to join certain indispensable parties. The City and CSB simultaneously filed a motion to dismiss count 1 of the complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(7), Ala. R. Civ. P., arguing that all six applicants were indispensable parties. They then asked that count 1 of the complaint be dismissed or that Ezell be required to add Cochran, Brown, Clanton, Muse, and McDaniel as defendants. The trial court ordered Ezell to amend his complaint to make Cochran, Brown, Clanton, Muse, and McDaniel parties to the suit. Ezell amended count 1 of his complaint and also added the other applicants as defendants. The City and the CSB filed an answer to the amended complaint in which they denied Ezell's allegations and argued that the complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. The jury returned the following verdict: "We are not reasonably satisfied that the decision of the [CSB] was correct and we find that the following 2 individuals should be promoted to Battalion Chief (pick two) ... Benjamin Cochran ... William Ezell." The trial court entered a judgment on the verdict and ordered that the status quo be maintained during the pendency of any appellate proceedings. The City, the CSB, and McDaniel filed posttrial motions, which the trial court denied. McDaniel appealed to the Supreme Court (docketed as case no. 1130372). The City and the CSB also appealed to the Supreme Court (docketed as case no. 1130373). Because Ezell failed to demonstrate that he had a right to appeal the CSB's decision, the trial court lacked subject matter jurisdiction to entertain his appeal. Accordingly, the Supreme Court dismissed these appeals with instructions to the trial court to vacate its judgment.