Nelson Mullins Files Amicus Brief in Response to Alabama Supreme Court’s Opinion Voiding Numerous Tax Sales

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP

In June, the Alabama Supreme Court issued its Opinion in Stiff v. Equivest Financial, LLC, in which it held that a 2013 Bessemer tax sale occurring inside the Probate Courtroom — and not on the front steps of the courthouse — was void. Because the opinion potentially invalidated tax sales in numerous Alabama Counties, Nelson Mullins filed a “Friend of the Court” brief on behalf of the National Tax Lien Association urging the Court to reconsider its decision. The Amicus Brief is available here.

In the brief, Nelson Mullins argues for the NTLA that the Justices should reconsider their original opinion because that opinion misinterpreted Alabama Code Section 40-10-15 and failed to consider the impacts on Alabama’s Counties and its residents. The brief argues that the Court should have interpreted Alabama’s tax sale statute to impose a requirement that the tax sale be open to the public for competitive bidding instead of imposing a requirement that the tax sale be held in a particular physical location as the Court originally ruled. To further this argument, the brief traces the current tax sale statute all the way back to the first property tax collection statute passed in the Mississippi Territory in 1799 before Alabama became a State in 1819. The brief also urges the Supreme Court to consider the impact its decision voiding large numbers of tax sales will likely have on the overall tax base given the wide range of direct and indirect benefits tax sale purchasers provide to Alabama’s Counties each year.

The NTLA is the primary national organization advancing the legislative, regulatory, business, public relations, and educational interests of the tax lien and tax deed industry. The NTLA was incorporated in 1997 as a non-profit business league under 26 U.S.C. § 501(c)(6) to represent all industry participants, public and private. The NTLA and Nelson Mullins worked together to try to convince the Court to grant rehearing in the case because of the potential negative impacts the Court’s original opinion would have on the entire industry. Nelson Mullins is a member of the NTLA and was excited to be able to help the Association share its views in this important case.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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