Williams v. Mari Properties, LLCAnnotate this Case
Eleanor Williams appealed a probate court order denying her request for redemption of certain real property. In 2003, the State purchased property located in Birmingham ("the property") at a tax sale after the then owners, Benjamin and Marzella Rosser, failed to pay ad valorem taxes. The State sold the property in 2016 for $1,000 to Waynew Global Holdings, LLC ("WGH"). In February 2017, WGH sold the property to Mari Properties, LLC ("Mari"), for $5,000, and Mari recorded the deed to the property. Williams claimed that she inherited the property from the Rossers in or around March 2003. In September 2017, Williams petitioned for redemption of the property under section 40-10-120, Ala. Code 1975, with which she tendered $1,100. The probate court granted Williams petition, thereby ordering Mari to compute and submit the amount of those items and stated that, upon receipt of those figures, the probate court would enter an amendment to the order and direct payment by Williams. The probate court did not vest title of the property in Williams. Mari, however, moved to vacate the probate's order, arguing the court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction over the redemption petition because, it argued, Williams was required under 40-10-120 to redeem the property through statutory redemption within three years of the May 13, 2003, tax sale. Mari contended in the motion that the only redemption process available to Williams was judicial redemption under section 40-10-83, Ala. Code 1975, and that the circuit court had exclusive jurisdiction over that process. Despite Mari's filing of the notice of appeal to the circuit court, the parties continued filing documents in the probate court. By March 6, 2020, the probate court reversed course, vacating its earlier judgment in favor of Williams for redemption under 40-10-120, and holding that Williams should have filed her redemption petition with the circuit court. The Alabama Supreme Court determined that once Mari appealed to the circuit court, the probate court's jurisdiction was divested, making all orders filed after Mari's circuit court suit void.