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Forum Non Conveniens - Interest of Justice

Ex parte Burgess, [Ms. 1180989, Jan. 10, 2020] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2020). The Court (Sellers, J.; Parker, C.J., and Bolin, Wise, Mendheim, and Stewart, JJ., concur; Shaw, Bryan, and Mitchell, JJ., concur in the result) issues a writ of mandamus directing the Jefferson Circuit Court to vacate its order transferring this motor vehicle accident case to the Shelby Circuit Court. The Court held that

Shelby County’s sole connection to this case is the fact that the accident occurred there. The defendants have not asserted any additional facts to indicate that the overall connection between Shelby County and this case is strong. The defendants do not suggest that law enforcement located in Shelby County investigated the accident or prepared the accident report; they do not assert that any of the parties received medical treatment for their injuries in Shelby County; they have not identified any eyewitnesses who are located in Shelby County; and they have not identified any documents located in Shelby County.

Ms. *9.

The Court also found it “troubling that the Jefferson Circuit Court granted the motion for a change of venue without affording Burgess a reasonable time in which to file a response. Although courts are encouraged to act promptly in ruling on motions, especially at the initial phase of any case, we cannot condone a hasty decision that fails to consider a response from the opposing party – effectively ignoring any argument in support of the opposition.” Ms. *10.

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