Forum Non Conveniens - Interest-of-Justice Transfer


Ex parte Sean Michael Allen, et al., [Ms. 1190276, June 5, 2020] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2020). The Court (Parker, C.J.; Bolin, Shaw, Wise, Bryan, Mendheim, and Mitchell, JJ., concur; Sellers and Stewart, JJ., concur in the result) issues a writ of mandamus directing the Macon Circuit Court to transfer this motor vehicle collision case to the Lee Circuit Court under the interest-of-justice prong of the forum non conveniens statute, § 6-3-21.1, Ala. Code 1975.

“‘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,’” Ex parte Southeast Alabama Timber Harvesting, LLC, 94 So. 3d 371, 375 (Ala. 2012) (quoting Ex parte Wachovia Bank, N.A., 77 So. 3d 570, 573-74 (Ala. 2011)), because “litigation should be handled in the forum where the injury occurred,” Ex parte Fuller, 955 So. 2d 414, 416 (Ala. 2006).” Specific reasons for focusing on the location of the injury include “the burden of piling court services and resources upon the people of a county that is not affected by the case and ... the interest of the people of a county to have a case that arises in their county tried close to public view in their county.” Ex parte Smiths Water & Sewer Auth., 982 So. 2d 484, 490 (Ala. 2007). Here, the accident occurred and Drisker’s injuries were sustained in Lee County.”

Ms. **5-6.

“Transfer in the interest of justice was warranted because the only connection Macon County has to this case is that Drisker resides there. Thus, Macon County has a weak connection to the case, and Lee County has a strong one.” Ms. *8.

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