(Marion Circuit Court, CV-13-900007).
For Petitioner: H. Dean Mooty, Jr., George David Ray, Mooty & Associates, P.C., Montgomery.
For Respondent: B. Scott Shipman, Shipman & Associates, P.C., Haleyville.
MOORE, Judge. Thompson, P.J., and Pittman and Thomas, JJ., concur. Donaldson, J., recuses himself.
PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS
Door Components, LLC (" the employer" ), petitions this court for a writ of mandamus ordering the Marion Circuit Court (" the trial court" ) to vacate an order dated September 4, 2014, in which the trial court found, among other things, that Shirlene Kimbrough (" the employee" ) had suffered an injury to her left shoulder arising out of and in the course of her employment with the employer on December 2, 2013. We dismiss the petition.
The employee initially filed a complaint seeking benefits under the Alabama Workers' Compensation Act (" the Act" ), Ala. Code 1975, § 25-5-1 et seq., for an injury to her neck and left shoulder that she alleged she had suffered on January 15, 2011. The employer filed an answer to that complaint through its attorney, William L. Middleton. The employee subsequently filed an amended complaint seeking benefits under the Act for an injury to her left hand, neck, and left shoulder that she alleged she had suffered on December 2, 2013. After serving the amended complaint on Middleton, the employee moved the trial court for an evidentiary hearing regarding the compensability of her injuries pursuant to Ex parte Publix Supermarkets, Inc., 963 So.2d 654 (Ala.Civ.App. 2007). Specifically, the employee moved the trial court to " hold an evidentiary hearing to resolve the dispute over compensability, the provision of medical benefits, the provision of temporary total or temporary partial disability benefits, and
other matters which are necessarily dependent upon a finding that this claim is compensable."
Without receiving an answer to the amended complaint, the trial court conducted the requested hearing on August 29, 2014. On September 4, 2014, the trial court entered a detailed order containing findings of fact and conclusions of law in which it determined, among other things, that the employee had originally received a compensable injury to her left shoulder on January 15, 2011, for which she had reached maximum medical improvement on August 15, 2013; that the employee had returned to work without restrictions; that the employee had sustained a new work-related injury to her left shoulder on December 2, 2013; and that the employee was entitled to medical treatment for her left-shoulder injury. Middleton forwarded a copy of the order to the employer on September 8, 2014.
On October 6, 2014, the employer filed a " motion for new trial or, in the alternative, a motion to alter, amend, or vacate" the September 4, 2014, order. In its motion, the employer set out that it had changed workers' compensation insurance carriers between the time of the January 15, 2011, and the December 2, 2013, injuries. The employer further established that, when the employee filed her amended complaint and her motion for a compensability hearing, the employee had sent a copy of those documents to Middleton but had not served the amended complaint on the employer or its new workers' compensation insurance carrier, AlaCOMP. As a result, the employer argued, neither it nor AlaCOMP had received ...