Womble v. Moore

Supreme Court of Alabama

Jefferson County | No. SC-2022-1018 | May 19, 2023

Plaintiff's Lawsuit Dismissed Due to Failure to Prosecute; Appeal Challenging Dismissal Denied

The Wombles filed a lawsuit against Moore, alleging negligence, wantonness, and loss of consortium due to an automobile accident where Moore's car hit the Wombles' car from behind. Both parties exchanged interrogatories and requests for production. The court set a trial date and mandated that the case would be disposed of by then, unless a continuance was granted for a valid reason. However, after the Wombles' attorney withdrew, Moore reported a lack of communication from the Wombles.

Although teleconferences were held, the exact details of these conferences aren't fully clear. When the trial date arrived, the Wombles failed to show up, leading the court to dismiss their case for failure to prosecute. The Wombles later, with a new attorney, moved to set aside this judgment based on "excusable neglect", citing their belief that the case would be continued if needed. They also claimed to have always been committed to the lawsuit and had even met Moore's attorney for a lunch discussion about the case.

Moore contested the Wombles' assertions, noting their lack of preparedness and consistent engagement. The trial court denied the Wombles' motion, leading them to appeal, which was eventually dismissed due to technicalities. On review, the higher court upheld the trial court's decision, affirming that the Wombles had failed to present enough grounds under Rule 60(b)(1) to overturn the judgment.

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