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CIVIL PROCEDURE / MISJOINDER AND SEVERANCE - EX PARTE AMERICAN HERITAGE LIFE INS. CO.

In Ex parte American Heritage Life Ins. Co., [Ms. 1080868, March 26, 2010] ___ So.3d ___ (Ala. 2010), the Alabama Supreme Court examined joinder, pursuant to Rule 20 Ala.R.Civ.P., in the context of a plaintiff who alleged claims of assault and battery against a tortfeasor and claims of breach of contract and bad faith against plaintiff's disability insurance carrier. The Court held that there was little commonality between the claims against the assailant and those against the insurer, and that the claims were not based on a single indivisible injury. Specifically, the cause of action against the assailant arose from the tortious assault and battery, while the cause of action against the insurer arose from the alleged violations of the terms of its contract of insurance. Thus, joinder was improper, and the Court granted the insurer's petition for writ of mandamus ordering the trial court to sever the claims.

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