Alabama REALTORS® Judicial Monitor
October 15, 2019
The Public Policy Team monitors Alabama’s courts for impacts on the real estate industry and property laws in general. When noteworthy events occur, or important opinions are released, summaries and analyses of the cases will be provided as the Alabama REALTORS® Judicial Monitor.
I. Federal District Court for the Southern District of Alabama Rules Against Gadfly Litigant in Intellectual Property Suit against Local REALTOR®
When you use photographs on your promotional materials and website, make sure you have the right to use the photos.[i]
II. Alabama Attorney General Issues Advisory Opinion on Class 5/6/8 Municipality Weed Abatement Cost Recoupments
If a municipality issues a notice to abate weeds on a property, be sure the property is promptly cleaned up. Otherwise, that property could be subject to a sizable financial assessment for the city’s weed abatement expenses.
III. U.S. Department of Justice Charges Mountain Brook Homebuilder with Wire Fraud
As REALTORS®, you are in a unique position to protect your clients. If you believe that someone is engaging in fraudulent activity, you can contact several state and federal agencies to report the activity, including the Alabama Attorney General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the appropriate state licensing agency.
[i] For further reference, NAR has prepared two informational videos on intellectual property infringement that you may find useful: www.realtor.org/law-and-ethics/who-owns-your-property-photos; and www.nar.realtor/videos/window-to-the-law/copyright-best-practices-for-listing-photos.
[ii] 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 134037 (S.D. AL 2019).
[iii] Bell v. Frost, at *6.
[iv] Summary judgment is a procedural motion that can be used early in a lawsuit to decide the case before a full trial.
[v] Ala. Code § 11-40-12 provides for several classes of municipalities based on population as of the 1970 U.S. Census. Class 5 encompasses all cities with a population of not less than 25,000 and not more than 49,999 inhabitants; Class 6 is comprised of all cities with a population of not less than 12,000 and not more than 24,999 inhabitants; and Class 8 contains all cities and towns with a population of 5,999 inhabitants or less.
[vi] See Ala. Code § 11-67-20 et seq.
[vii] See A.G. No. 2019-046, pp.1.
[viii] See Ala. Code § 11-67-27.
[ix] A.G. No. 2019-46, pp. 3.
[xi] A.G. No. 2019-46, pp.4.