Articles Posted in Supreme Court of Alabama

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In 2016, the Alabama High School Athletic Association ("the Association") and its executive director, Steven Savarese, filed petitions for a writ of mandamus challenging certain conflicting circuit court orders, issued by the Geneva and the Washington Circuit Courts. The Alabama Supreme Court issued an order granting the petitions and issuing the writs. In that order, the Supreme Court upheld a decision of the Association and declared the orders of the two circuit courts to be void. A.J.K. was a student at Washington County High School, and he played high-school football for the school during the 2016-2017 school year. During the high-school football playoffs, the Association determined that A.J.K. was ineligible to participate on the football team, and, because A.J.K. had participated for the school as an ineligible player, the Association removed the school from the playoffs. At the request of interested persons and entities, the Association's decision was reviewed by both the Geneva and Washington Circuit Courts. The Geneva Court issued an order directing that the Association's decision be enforced, but the Washington Circuit Court issued an order reversing the Association's decision and prohibiting the Association from removing Washington County High School from the playoffs. The Association and Savarese then filed petitions for writs of mandamus arguing that both the Circuit Courts improperly asserted jurisdiction, and asked the Supreme Court to void the orders. In this case, the requirements needed for the Circuit Courts to properly exercise jurisdiction were not present. The Supreme Court therefore granted mandamus relief, and the playoffs proceeded accordingly. View "Ex parte Alabama High School Athletic Assn." on Justia Law

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Kevin Kendrick, as director of compliance at Alabama State University (ASU), appealed the grant of summary judgment ordering him to provide The Advertiser Company d/b/a The Montgomery Advertiser ("the Advertiser") with redacted copies of each "request for reduction/cancellation of athletic financial aid" form submitted to the director involving the ASU football program since December 15, 2014. A reporter for the Advertiser initially sent a written request for the forms to the school's media relations director spoke. The media relations director to the reporter by telephone, advising the reporter that because the forms contained sensitive personal student information, the forms would be heavily redacted. The reporter emailed the media relations director stating that he would "take just the list of names of players whose scholarships have been revoked since December [2014]." Later that day, the media relations director, under advice of university counsel, informed the reporter he could not even provide a list of names, citing privacy concerns under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA). Legal counsel for the Advertiser and legal counsel for ASU exchanged correspondence regarding whether the financial aid forms were subject to disclosure. When the parties could not agree, the Advertiser filed a declaratory judgment suit and petition for a writ of mandamus to compel the records' disclosure. The Supreme Court, after review, reversed and remanded the grant of summary judgment: "We commend the trial court for its efforts to comply with both FERPA and the Open Records Act by requiring ASU to redact the requested financial-aid forms in the manner it directed. However, the release of the redacted financial-aid forms to the Advertiser would nonetheless disclose information that is protected by FERPA, and the Advertiser did not argue that the release of the redacted financial-aid forms is authorized by any other exception in FERPA. Because FERPA prohibits the very release of the redacted financial-aid forms and because FERPA takes precedence over the Open Records Act, the director is entitled to a summary judgment." View "Kendrick v. The Advertiser Company" on Justia Law