Direct Action Statute - Availability of Mandamus Review


Ex parte State Farm Fire and Cas. Co., [Ms. 1170760, Jan. 31, 2020] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2020). In a per curiam decision (Bolin, Wise, Bryan, Sellers, Mendheim, and Stewart, JJ., concur; Parker, C.J., and Shaw and Mitchell, JJ., dissent), the Court denies State Farm’s petition for a writ of mandamus challenging the Clarke Circuit Court’s failure to dismiss an action against State Farm on the ground that the claims were barred by § 27-23-2, Ala. Code 1975 (“the direct-action statute”).

The Court rejected State Farm’s effort to couch its argument as a subject-matter jurisdiction challenge to plaintiffs’ standing. Citing its recent cases on the subject, the Court explained that a lack of standing does not implicate subject-matter jurisdiction. Ms. *18-19. The Court denied the writ emphasizing that it “has never recognized an exception to the general rule that would permit interlocutory review of a trial court’s denial of a motion to dismiss or for a judgment on the pleadings for cases that turn on whether the plaintiff has stated a cognizable claim under the applicable law.” Ms. *20.

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