Ex parte Jennifer Ann VestAnnotate this Case
Mother Jennifer Ann Vest (Herron) petitioned the Supreme Court to review a Court of Civil Appeals decision to affirm a the Elmore Circuit Court's order imposing on her a five-day jail sentence for contempt. The contempt order arose out of a child-custody-modification action. The father filed a motion with the Elmore Court to modify custody of the parties' minor child. In response, the mother, in her motion to dismiss, clearly stated that there was an action pending in Mobile County involving the parties' child of which the father was aware. She further alleged that venue was proper in Mobile County and that the father had not objected to venue at the Mobile Court. The mother requested that the Elmore Court dismiss the father's motion to modify custody until such time as the Mobile Court addressed the mother's motion regarding the parties' child and her allegations against the father. The Supreme Court found that the Elmore Circuit Court erred in not recognizing the primacy of the Mobile action when the mother filed her motion to dismiss or to transfer the father's motion to the Mobile Circuit Court. Subsequently, the Court of Civil Appeals erred in concluding that the mother had waived the affirmative defense of abatement. Accordingly, the Alabama Supreme Court suspended the provisions of Rule 39(g) and (h), Ala. R. App. P., allowing the petitioner and the respondent to file briefs and to request oral argument, and the Court granted certiorari review of the Court of Civil Appeals' order affirming the Elmore Circuit Court's order holding the mother in contempt.