Hilyer v. FortierAnnotate this Case
Adam Hilyer appealed a circuit court order denying his request to set aside a default judgment entered against him in a suit brought by Betti Fortier, mother and next friend of minor M.M. In 2013, Hilyer was backing a tractor-trailer rig used to transport logs into his private driveway on Kennedy Avenue. At the time, Hilyer was blocking both lanes of traffic on Kennedy Avenue. M.M., a minor, was driving Fortier's van and was traveling westbound on Kennedy Avenue. M.M.'s vehicle collided with Hilyer's trailer, and M.M. sustained injuries. The circuit court entered its default judgment against Hilyer in the amount of $550,000. Upon review of the facts of this case, the Alabama Supreme Court concluded that the circuit court exceeded its discretion in denying Hilyer's Rule 55(c) motion to set aside the default judgment. The Court found questions of fact remained about service of the complaint, and miscommunications between insurers, adjusters investigators and lawyers, were not a result of Hilyer's "own culpable conduct." The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court and remanded the case for further proceedings.