Mandamus Review of Denial of Motion to Strike Amended Complaint


Ex parte Gulf Health Hospitals, Inc., [Ms. 1180596, Sept. 4, 2020] ___ So. 3d___ (Ala. 2020). The Court (Mitchell, J.; Parker, C.J., and Wise, Bryan, Mendheim, and Stewart, JJ., concur; Bolin and Sellers, JJ., concur in the result) denies a petition for a writ of mandamus by Gulf Health Hospitals which contended the Baldwin Circuit Court exceeded its discretion in allowing a plaintiff to amend his complaint in a medical negligence case in derogation of Ala. R. Civ. P. 15(a) because the plaintiff failed to first seek the trial court’s permission before filing the amended complaint after the first trial setting had passed. Denying the petition, the Court reiterates the requirement that a petitioner must show all four of the following requirements to be entitled to extraordinary mandamus relief: “1) a clear legal right in the petitioner to the order sought; 2) an imperative duty upon the respondent to perform, accompanied by a refusal to do so; 3) the lack of another adequate remedy; and 4) properly invoked jurisdiction of the court.” Ms. **6-7, quoting Ex parte BOC Grp., Inc., 823 So. 2d 1270, 1272 (Ala. 2001).

In this case, the petitioner failed to show how it lacked “another adequate remedy.” Ms. *7. Citing Ex parte State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., [Ms. 1180451, April 24, 2020] ___ So. 3d ___, ___ (Ala. 2020), the Court again emphasizes that a party seeking mandamus relief must adequately address the third element of the mandamus test – whether the party lacks “another adequate remedy.” Id. While mandamus review may be available to a party aggrieved by a trial court’s ruling on a motion to amend a complaint, an appeal is usually an adequate remedy from such a ruling and mandamus review is generally not available under such circumstances. Ms. *9. “Because mandamus review of a trial court’s ruling on a plaintiff’s motion to amend his or her complaint is the exception, not the rule, it is incumbent upon a party seeking mandamus review of such a ruling to explain why an ordinary post-judgment appeal would not be adequate.” Ms. *10. Accordingly, Gulf Health Hospital’s petition was due to be denied.

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