Ex parte Johnston

In Ex parte Johnston, 231 Ala. 458, 165 So. 108 (1935) the trial court entered an order finding a temporary total disability and providing for payments for 300 weeks unless the disability terminated sooner, in which event compensation would then cease. The trial court's order contained a statement retaining the cause on the docket "for such further and necessary orders as may be mete and proper in the premises." 231 Ala. at 459, 165 So. at 109. More than 18 months after the rendition of the judgment, the employer filed in the trial court a motion alleging that he had paid in accordance with the earlier judgment and had been advised that the disability of the plaintiff had terminated; he argued that he should not be called upon to make further payments under the judgment. The Court granted certiorari review and set aside the trial court's order, in which it had modified its previous order finding a total disability and had substituted for it an order stating that the plaintiff suffered from only a permanent partial disability. The Court found that the retention of the cause on the docket conflicted with the precursors of 25-5-81(a)(1) and 25-5-88, Ala. Code 1975 (stating that subsequent proceedings shall be only for the recovery of moneys determined by the earlier judgment to be due). The Court stated in Johnston that the trial court was without authority to reexamine the facts and to redetermine the character of the plaintiff's injuries and the degree of his disability, based upon the rule that the findings of the original judgment as to the extent and nature of the injuries were conclusive. 231 Ala. at 459, 165 So. at 109. The Court noted that, if the employer had been dissatisfied with the conclusion that the employee had suffered a temporary total disability of 300 weeks' duration, he should have appealed in order to have the judgment reversed or corrected.