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VENUE & FORUM NON CONVENIENS - EX PARTE BAPTIST HEALTH SYSTEM, INC.

Ex parte Baptist Health System, Inc., [Ms. 2150580, May 27, 2016] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. Civ. App. 2016). Wyatt was injured on the job at Shelby Baptist Medical Center, but filed a complaint seeking workers’ compensation benefits against the owner of the medical center, Baptist Health System, Inc., in Jefferson Circuit Court. Baptist moved for a transfer of venue under the forum non conveniens statute, § 6-3-21.1, Ala. Code 1975, seeking to have the action transferred to Shelby Circuit Court. Both parties conceded venue was appropriate in either county pursuant to § 25-5-81(a) (venue in a workers’ compensation action is proper in the county in which the action would be brought if it sounded in tort) and §§ 6-3-7(a)(1) and (2) (venue in tort action against corporations is proper “[i]n the county in which a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred” or “[i]n the county of the corporation’s principal office in this state”). Ms. *2, n. 1. Wyatt opposed the motion contending that Baptist’s principal place of business was in Jefferson County and that she received medical care for her injuries in Jefferson County. The circuit court denied the motion to transfer venue, but the Supreme Court grants Baptist’s petition for a writ of mandamus and reverses the decision of the Jefferson Circuit Court. The Court of Civil Appeals concluded, based upon the “interest-of-justice” prong of § 6-3-21.1, that because the injury occurred in Shelby County and virtually none of the events occurred in Jefferson County, transfer of venue to Shelby County was required under authority of Ex parte Indiana Mills & Mfg., Inc., 10 So. 3d 536 (Ala. 2008); Ex parte Autauga Heating & Cooling, LLC, 58 So. 3d 745 (Ala. 2010); Ex parte McKenzie Oil Co., 13 So. 3d 346 (Ala. 2008); and Ex parte Waltman, 116 So. 3d 1111 (Ala. 2013). Significantly, the Court of Civil Appeals implies that when an “interest-of-justice” analysis is required, plaintiff’s choice of forum is not entitled to any preference and the party seeking a change of venue need not demonstrate that the proposed forum is “significantly more convenient” than the forum selected by the plaintiff. See Ms. *15, n. 3.

Related Documents: Ex parte Baptist Health System

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