VENUE IN AEMLD ACTION - EX PARTE MICHELIN NORTH AMERICA, INC.
In Ex parte Michelin North America, Inc. [Ms. 1081268, Aug. 13, 2010]__ So. 3d.__(Ala. 2010), Gustavo Lopez, a Tennessee resident, was killed in Autauga County when his Ford Explorer experienced a de-tread and roll-over sequence. All of Mr. Lopez's heirs resided in Mexico. Eventually, the Barbour County Probate Court appointed attorney Shane Seaborn as administrator of Mr. Lopez's estate. Mr. Seaborn filed suit under the AEMLD in Barbour County, based on Mr. Seaborn's residence there. Michelin moved for a change of venue based on improper venue and forum non conveniens. The trial court, relying on ARCP 82(d)(2)(c)(iii), denied Michelin's motion based on "untimeliness," and Michelin filed a petition for writ of mandamus. The Alabama Supreme Court granted Michelin's writ of mandamus and ordered the Circuit Court to transfer the action to a proper venue. The Court reiterated that ARCP 82(d)(2)(c)(iii)does not impose a 30-day time limit for filing a motion for a change of venue where venue is improper at the commencement of the action. The Court found that Michelin consistently preserved its right to file a timely motion for change of venue by denying proper venue in its Answer, asserting the affirmative defense of improper venue, and then, after discovery, filing a motion for change of venue.