Forum Non Conveniens - Motor Vehicle Crash
Ex parte Tyson Chicken, Inc., [Ms. 1170820, May 24, 2019] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2019). This per curiam opinion (Shaw, Wise, Bryan, Mendheim, and Stewart, JJ., concur; Parker, C.J., and Bolin and Sellers, JJ., dissent; Mitchell, J., recuses) grants rehearing and denies defendants’ motion to transfer venue invoking the forum non-conveniens statute.
The Court held that “Craig and Tyson had not presented evidence or affidavits demonstrating that Cullman County is a ‘significantly more convenient’ forum than Marshall County.” Ms. *7. The Court declined to consider the location of documents as bearing on the issue of convenience because “Craig and Tyson have not presented information regarding the nature of the documentary evidence, and thus, we cannot consider the location of the documents in determining whether the trial court exceeded its discretion in denying the transfer.” Ms. *8.
The Court also noted that the record was devoid of evidence “such as affidavits from potential witnesses, indicating the witnesses who might testify ... would be ‘seriously inconvenienced’ by having to travel to Marshall County for trial.” Ms. *9.
The Court found that the connection between the action in Cullman County was strong because the accident occurred there and the company that provided emergency medical care and the hospital at which the plaintiff was treated were located in Cullman County. Ms. *11. However, the Court concluded transfer to Cullman County was not required because “Marshall County’s connection to the underlying action is not weak. All the parties in this case either live in or operate in Marshall County.” Ms. *13. Accordingly, the Court concluded that the defendants “have failed to establish that the trial court exceeded its discretion or that they have a clear legal right to the relief sought.” Ms. *14-15 (emphasis in the original).