Arbitration - Timing of Merits Discovery: Ex Parte Locklear Chrysler Jeep Dodge, Etc.

Ex parte Locklear Chrysler Jeep Dodge, etc., [Ms. 1160372, 1160373, 1160374, Sept. 29, 2017] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2017). In this unanimous decision by Justice Bolin (Stuart, C.J., and Parker, Murdock, Shaw, Main, Wise, Bryan, and Sellers, JJ., concur), the Court issues writs of mandamus to the Bibb Circuit Court to vacate discovery orders in three tort actions filed by purchasers of vehicles from Locklear Chrysler Jeep Dodge, LLC. The orders in question compelled responses to general merits discovery at a time when the trial court had not yet ruled upon Locklear’s motion to compel arbitration. The unanimous Court concluded “the trial court exceeded its discretion by allowing general discovery before the resolution of the issue whether the purchasers must arbitrate their claims.” Ms. *12.

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