531 F.2d 1261 (5th Cir. 1976), 74--4059, Williams v. Ezell

Docket Nº74--4059.
Citation531 F.2d 1261
Party NameLonnie WILLIAMS and Thelma Craig, for themselves and all others similarly situated, Plaintiff-Appellants, v. Probate Judge E. Mark EZELL et al., Defendants-Appellees.
Case DateMay 20, 1976
CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Page 1261

531 F.2d 1261 (5th Cir. 1976)

Lonnie WILLIAMS and Thelma Craig, for themselves and all

others similarly situated, Plaintiff-Appellants,

v.

Probate Judge E. Mark EZELL et al., Defendants-Appellees.

No. 74--4059.

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

May 20, 1976

Page 1262

Neil Bradley, Sara Jane Love, Atlanta, Ga., for plaintiffs-appellants.

Sara E. Green, Trudy B. Levy, League of Women Voters Ed. Fund, Washington, D.C., for League of Women Voters of U.S. & Alabama.

J. Edward Thornton, Mobile, Ala., for Virginia Oglesby, and others.

John Y. Christopher, Butler, Ala., for defendants-appellees.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama.

Before DYER, CLARK and GEE, Circuit Judges.

DYER, Circuit Judge:

Williams and Craig brought suit challenging the apportionment of districts and certification of school Board candidates. After Plaintiffs unsuccessfully attempted to dismiss the action voluntarily under F.R.Civ.P. 41(a)(1) the district court awarded attorneys fees to the Board. Plaintiffs appealed. We reverse.

This action was brought on March 14, 1974, approximately two months before a primary election of candidates for the Choctaw County, Alabama Board of Education. 1 Plaintiffs sought a temporary and permanent injunction requiring the defendants to certify Williams as a candidate for the election and to place his name on the ballot, and a determination whether a system of single member districts or proportional representation should be ordered for the election

Page 1263

of members of the Board of Education. Plaintiffs also prayed for costs and attorneys fees. The district court held an emergency hearing on March 26, 1974, and two days later denied all injunctive relief, dismissed the complaint, and taxed costs against plaintiffs.

Plaintiffs filed a motion for rehearing on April 1, 1974. On June 5, 1974, the district court granted the motion in part, set aside its order denying permanent injunctive relief and agreed to hold a hearing on the apportionment challenge. The district court also established a discovery schedule, setting a pretrial conference for July 31, 1974. No discovery was taken by either party, however.

On July 25, 1974, plaintiffs filed a 'Motion for Dismissal,' to dismiss the action voluntarily without prejudice under Rule 41(a)(1). 2 Although Rule 41(a)(1) was not cited in the Motion for Dismissal, there is no question that plaintiffs were acting pursuant to it. That it was styled a 'Motion for Dismissal' rather than a 'Notice of Dismissal' is, in our opinion, a distinction without a difference.

On July 31, 1974, the district court denied this motion and, at the same time, reinstated its March 28, 1974, order.

Thereafter, the school board filed a motion seeking attorneys fees....

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113 practice notes
  • 12 F.3d 497 (5th Cir. 1994), 92-9061, Matter of West Texas Marketing Corp.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
    • January 31, 1994
    ...Procedure 41(a)(1)(ii) and under the case law of this circuit, any further actions by the court were superfluous. See Williams v. Ezell, 531 F.2d 1261, 1264 (5th Cir.1976) (district court lacks power to act once plaintiff files a valid Rule 41(a)(1) motion). Therefore, the dismissal order e......
  • 123 B.R. 117 (Bkrtcy.N.D.Ga. 1991), 89-03575, In re Whitney Place Partners
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Bankruptcy Courts Eleventh Circuit
    • January 11, 1991
    ...factually or legally. Respondents' first contention is without merit. Respondents relied, in part, on the case of Williams v. Ezell, 531 F.2d 1261 (5th Cir.1976), 1 as binding precedent for the proposition that this court lacks jurisdiction to entertain a motion for Bankruptcy Rule 9011 san......
  • 74 So.3d 432 (Ala. 2011), 1100226, Ex parte Scannelly
    • United States
    • Alabama Supreme Court of Alabama
    • June 30, 2011
    ...see also Marex Titanic, Inc., 2 F.3d at 546. Conversely, Rule 41(a)(1) affords the trial court no discretion. See Williams v. Ezell, 531 F.2d 1261, 1264 (5th Cir.1976). " The effect of a notice of dismissal pursuant to Rule 41(a)(1) was succinctly explained in Reid v. Tingle, 716 So.2d......
  • 76 F.3d 762 (6th Cir. 1996), 94-1558, Brown v. Local 58, Intern. Broth. of Elec. Workers, AFL-CIO
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
    • February 26, 1996
    ...nullity." Santiago v. Victim Servs. Agency of the Metro. Assistance Corp., 753 F.2d 219, 221 (2d Cir.1985); Williams v. Ezell, 531 F.2d 1261, 1264 (5th The Supreme Court, however, recently made clear that it disapproved of the approach taken in Santiago. In Cooter & Gell v. Hartmar......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
112 cases
  • 12 F.3d 497 (5th Cir. 1994), 92-9061, Matter of West Texas Marketing Corp.
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
    • January 31, 1994
    ...Procedure 41(a)(1)(ii) and under the case law of this circuit, any further actions by the court were superfluous. See Williams v. Ezell, 531 F.2d 1261, 1264 (5th Cir.1976) (district court lacks power to act once plaintiff files a valid Rule 41(a)(1) motion). Therefore, the dismissal order e......
  • 123 B.R. 117 (Bkrtcy.N.D.Ga. 1991), 89-03575, In re Whitney Place Partners
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Bankruptcy Courts Eleventh Circuit
    • January 11, 1991
    ...factually or legally. Respondents' first contention is without merit. Respondents relied, in part, on the case of Williams v. Ezell, 531 F.2d 1261 (5th Cir.1976), 1 as binding precedent for the proposition that this court lacks jurisdiction to entertain a motion for Bankruptcy Rule 9011 san......
  • 74 So.3d 432 (Ala. 2011), 1100226, Ex parte Scannelly
    • United States
    • Alabama Supreme Court of Alabama
    • June 30, 2011
    ...see also Marex Titanic, Inc., 2 F.3d at 546. Conversely, Rule 41(a)(1) affords the trial court no discretion. See Williams v. Ezell, 531 F.2d 1261, 1264 (5th Cir.1976). " The effect of a notice of dismissal pursuant to Rule 41(a)(1) was succinctly explained in Reid v. Tingle, 716 So.2d......
  • 76 F.3d 762 (6th Cir. 1996), 94-1558, Brown v. Local 58, Intern. Broth. of Elec. Workers, AFL-CIO
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
    • February 26, 1996
    ...nullity." Santiago v. Victim Servs. Agency of the Metro. Assistance Corp., 753 F.2d 219, 221 (2d Cir.1985); Williams v. Ezell, 531 F.2d 1261, 1264 (5th The Supreme Court, however, recently made clear that it disapproved of the approach taken in Santiago. In Cooter & Gell v. Hartmar......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • Needed Weapons in the Army's War an Drugs: Electronic Surveillance and Informants
    • United States
    • Military Law Review Nbr. 116, April 1987
    • April 1, 1987
    ...119781: and supm note 111. "5Scott. 136 US. st 140-43 "United States v Hyde. 674 F.2d 866 15th Cu. 19181: Umted States v Kirk.531 F 2d 1262 l3fh Cx 19781, Umted States Y. Ddy. 535 F.2d 434 (8th Cir 18761: Umted States V. Clemente, 432 F Supp. 102 1S.D.R.Y. 19781, affd, 633 F.2d 20......