PERSONAL JURISDICTION - BRANDED TRAILER SALES, INC. V. UNIVERSAL TRUCKLOAD SERVICES, INC.
In Branded Trailer Sales, Inc. v. Universal Truckload Services, Inc., [Ms. 1090356, Jun. 24, 2011] __ So. 3d __(Ala. 2011), the Alabama Supreme Court affirmed its prior holdings that a plaintiff must at least "allege facts that would support a colorable claim of jurisdiction" in order to be permitted jurisdictional discovery relevant to a defendant's motion to dismiss. The Court relied heavily on (and quoted at length from) its decision in Ex parte Bufkin, 936 So. 2d 1042 (Ala. 2006). The Court recognized that if a discovery request was "'based upon 'bare,' 'attenuated,' or 'unsupported' assertions of personal jurisdiction'" or if a claim appeared to be "clearly frivolous," the jurisdictional discovery should not be permitted. However, the Court held that the plaintiff in the present case had "made detailed assertions regarding its theories of personal jurisdiction, and it presented evidence to support those assertions." As a result, the Court held that the trial court exceeded its discretion when it granted the defendant's motion to dismiss without first providing the plaintiff an opportunity to conduct jurisdictional discovery.