Mendheim to remain judge for Chestnut suit

Published 6:22 pm Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Alabama Supreme Court came to a decision Thursday by issuing an order to keep Brady Mendheim as the judge in a suit over a law firm that once featured legendary lawyer J.L. Chestnut, according to court documents.

The order, issued Thursday, is the latest in a case that officially began in 2011. The lawsuit, between the Sanders and Chestnut families, primarily focuses on whether Chestnut or his family was properly paid for his share of Chestnut, Sanders, Sanders, and Pettaway when he died in 2008.

When the case went to court in late 2013, Hank and Rose Sanders, who are defendants in the case, said Chestnut should receive his fair share of the law firm, but not without consideration of any debt. Attorneys for the Chestnut estate argued for payment for Chestnut’s partnership without any debt subtracted.

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At the time of his death, Chestnut was a 30 percent partner in the law firm, according to court documents.

Mendheim, who was specially appointed from the Dothan area, mentioned his final ruling would ultimately be in favor of the Chestnut estate near the end of the case.

In March, Mendheim appointed several appraisers to asses the value of the law firm.

Soon after, defendants Hank and Rose Sanders submitted a petition for writ of mandamus, according to court documents.

Hank and Rose Sanders asked Mendheim to be removed because of unfair bias. Hank Sanders said Mendheim, by saying he would rule in favor of the Chestnut estate, expressed some sort of bias.

Thursday’s order from the Alabama Supreme Court decided against Menheim’s removal. Chief Justice Roy Moore and associate justices Michael Bolin, Glen Murdock, James Allen Main and Tommy Bryan concurred.

Appraisers haven’t finished evaluating the total worth of the law firm, according to court documents.

The Chestnut family was previously offered $250,000 out of court from the Sanders family, but the Chestnuts declined.