FORUM NON CONVENIENS - UNINSURED MOTORIST CLAIM - ADMISSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR MATERIALS SUBMITTED IN OPPOSITION TO FNC MOTION - EX PARTE ALFA MUTUAL INS. CO.
Ex parte Alfa Mutual Ins. Co., [Ms. 1160536, Sept. 1, 2017] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2017). In this decision by Justice Wise, (Stuart, C.J., and Bolin, Parker, Shaw, Main, Bryan and Sellers, JJ. concur; Murdock dissents) the Court grants a petition for writ of mandamus and directs the Pickens Circuit Court to transfer an action seeking uninsured motorist benefits against Alfa to Tuscaloosa Circuit Court. The Court noted that “‘although it is not a talisman, the fact that the injury occurred in the proposed transferee county is often assigned considerable weight in an interest-of-justice analysis.’” Ms. *9, quoting Ex parte Wachovia Bank, N.A., 77 So. 3d 570, 573-74 (Ala. 2011). The Court noted that while the policy was purchased in Pickens County, the plaintiff who was injured in the automobile accident in Tuscaloosa County was not originally on the policy and did not purchase or pay any of the premiums for the policy. Ms. *11-12. The Court found that the Pickens Circuit Court exceeded its discretion in refusing to transfer the case to Tuscaloosa because
the accident occurred in Tuscaloosa County. ... Also, law-enforcement personnel who responded to the accident worked in Tuscaloosa County; [plaintiff] Holley was treated by emergency-medical services personnel from Tuscaloosa at the scene of the accident; Holley was taken to a hospital in Tuscaloosa County after the accident; and Holley received follow-up treatment from three medical-care providers in Tuscaloosa County. Further, both Holley and Evans worked in Tuscaloosa County, and Evans resided in Tuscaloosa County at the time the motion to transfer was filed.
In regard to evidentiary requirements for opposing FNC motions, the Court refused to consider certain facts asserted by Holley. The Court noted that “because those ‘facts’ were ‘contained in statements of counsel and motions, briefs, and arguments, [they] cannot be considered ‘evidentiary material’ and thus will not be considered by this Court.” Ms. *12, n. 2, quoting Autauga Heating and Cooling, 58 So. 3d at 749-50.