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Venue - Ala. Code § 6-3-21 Transfer for Convenience of Parties and Witnesses and in Interest of Justice

Ex parte Reed, [Ms. 1180564, Sept. 13, 2019] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2019). The Court (Sellers, J.; and Parker, C.J., and Bolin, Shaw, Wise, Bryan, Mendheim, and Mitchell, JJ., concur; Stewart, J., dissents) grants a petition for writ of mandamus and directs the Jefferson Circuit Court to vacate its order denying a defendant’s motion for a change of venue and to enter an order transferring the underlying action from Jefferson County to Marshall County in a personal injury case arising from an automobile collision that occurred in Marshall County.

The Court’s analysis of the § 6-3-21.1, Ala. Code 1975, forum non-conveniens factors mirror those set forth in Ex parte KKE, LLC, supra. See Ms. **3-9. However, in this case the Court concludes a transfer is warranted because Marshall County has a strong connection to the underlying action (the accident occurred in Marshall County, the police personnel and emergency personnel who responded to the accident were from Marshall County, and one of the eyewitnesses to the accident is a resident of Marshall County), while plaintiff’s chosen forum, Jefferson County, had only a weak connection (the only connection to the action is that the defendant resides there). Ms. **9-10. The Court concludes that “[a]lthough we accord deference to a plaintiff’s choice of venue, the facts, in this case, dictate that Marshall County has a strong connection to the action and that Jefferson County has a weak connection. Therefore, a transfer is warranted under the interest-of-justice prong of § 6-3-21.1.” Ms. *10.

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