Venue in AEMLD Claims - Ex Parte Thomasville Feed & Seed, Inc.
In Ex parte Thomasville Feed & Seed, Inc. [Ms. 1100695, June 30, 2011] So. 3d (Ala. 2011), Roy Saulsberry ("Saulsberry") operates a cattle farm in Wilcox County on which he grows grass to feed the cattle. Saulsberry periodically applies fertilizer to the soil on his farm so as to facilitate grass-growing. In April 2008, Saulsberry purchased 4.5 tons of fertilizer from Feed & Seed, which is located in Clarke County. On April 22, 2010, Saulsberry sued Feed & Seed in Wilcox County under the AEMLD, alleging that the seed was defective. Arguing that it does not do business by agent in Wilcox County, Feed & Seed attempted to dismiss the case or, alternatively, have it transferred to Clarke County. Feed & Seed ultimately petitioned the Alabama Supreme Court for mandamus relief. In analyzing whether "a substantial part of the events giving rise to the claim" occurred in Wilcox County (thereby making venue appropriate there under Ala. Code 6-3-7(a)(1), the Court held that the AEMLD claim was premised on the sale of the fertilizer and that this occurred in Clarke County. In addition, in analyzing whether Saulsberry's "real property" (i.e., his cattle farm) was "the subject of the action" (thereby making venue appropriate there under the "real property" provision of Ala. Code 6-3-7(a)(1), the Court held that the fertilizer, and not the cattle farm, was the subject of the action. Wherefore, the Court issued a writ of mandamus transferring the case to Clarke County.