Aliant Bank v. CarterAnnotate this Case
Aliant Bank appealed the entry of an injunction against it by the Shelby Circuit Court enjoining it from interfering with a contract for the sale of real property between Kimberly and Kerry Carter, on the one hand, and Gregory and Robyn Nunley, on the other. The Carters owned, as joint tenants, a piece of real property located in Shelby County. The Carters used the property to secure a mortgage from Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. ("MERS"). In addition to the MERS mortgage, three creditors secured judgments against Kerry Carter against the property. Aliant was fourth to secure its judgment lien against Kerry Carter. On August 21, 2014, the Carters entered into a contract with the Nunleys for the sale of the property. At the time the Carters entered into the contract, the judgment liens against the property had not been satisfied. The preliminary settlement statement for the sale of the property indicated that a portion of the sale proceeds would be used to pay off the outstanding mortgage held by MERS on the property. The first judgment creditor thereafter agreed to release its judgment lien on the property in exchange for a smaller portion of the sale proceeds. The record did not indicate that the second or third judgment creditor agreed to release its judgment lien against the property. However, the record was clear that Aliant refused to release its judgment lien against the property. Apparently, Aliant's refusal to execute a release of its judgment lien inhibited the closing of the contract. On September 14, 2014, the Carters sued Aliant, alleging that Aliant had intentionally and maliciously refused to execute a partial release of the property "in order to prohibit [Kerry] Carter from being able to fulfill his obligations under the purchase contract even though all profits due Kerry Carter are being disgorged and paid to the appropriate judgment creditor, [the first judgment creditor]." The trial court granted an injunction against Aliant. Subsequently, Aliant petitioned the Alabama Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus directing the circuit court to vacate its injunction order. The Supreme Court treated Aliant's petition for a writ of mandamus as a timely notice of appeal. After the Supreme Court recharacterized Aliant's petition, Aliant filed its appellant's brief. Instead of filing an appellee's brief, the Carters moved to dismiss Aliant's petition as moot, alleging that the property had been foreclosed upon by MERS. The Carters did not present the Supreme Court with any evidence indicating that MERS had, in fact, foreclosed upon the property. Aliant opposed the motion to dismiss. After review, the Supreme Court agreed with the Carters that the injunctive relief they requested was no longer attainable and that, consequently, the case was no longer justiciable. Accordingly, the Supreme Court dismissed Aliant's appeal.