(Dallas Circuit Court, CV-14-900079).
Justice. Stuart, Bolin, Parker, Shaw, Main, and Bryan, JJ.,
concur. Moore, C.J., dissents.
FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS
Carriers, Inc., and Bennie Hugh Orcutt, two of the defendants
below, filed a petition for a writ of mandamus requesting
this Court to direct the Dallas Circuit Court to vacate its
order denying their motion to transfer the underlying action
to the Autauga Circuit Court and to enter an order granting
the motion. We grant the petition and issue the writ.
and Procedural History
February 9, 2014, Desmond Rachard Woods was driving
northbound on Interstate 65 in Autauga County in a Ford Crown
Victoria automobile; Kimberly Shonta Livingston, Tory Danta
Cooper, Marquita Shonay Speer (" Marquita" ), and
Aaron Randall Jones were passengers in the automobile. The
automobile Woods was driving had a mechanical problem and
stalled in the right travel lane; it was nighttime, and the
lights on the automobile were not on. Woods, Cooper, and
Jones got out of the automobile and started looking under the
hood. Livingston and Marquita remained in the automobile.
who was employed by Quality Carriers, was also traveling
northbound on Interstate 65 in a tractor-trailer rig that was
owned by Quality Carriers. The tractor-trailer rig Orcutt was
driving collided with the back of the automobile, which was
stalled in the roadway. Both vehicles caught fire. Livingston
and Marquita, who were in the automobile when it caught fire,
were pronounced dead at the scene by Malvin O. Barber, the
Autauga County coroner. Woods and Cooper were transported to
Prattville Hospital. According
to the accident report, marijuana was found on Woods's
person at the hospital. At the time the accident report was
filed, toxicology results were pending to determine whether
Woods was under the influence of marijuana at the time of the
deputy sheriff who was the first responder to the scene
worked in Autauga County. Additionally, a member of the
Autauga County Rescue Squad also responded to the scene and
assisted in the care of the injured individuals. The Autauga
County coroner also responded to the scene and pronounced
Livingston and Marquita dead. Kenneth Barber and Catherine
Ricketts, who were both assistant Autauga County coroners,
also responded to the scene. In his affidavit, Kenneth Barber
stated that he was also the chief of the Marbury Volunteer
Fire Department (" MVFD" ); that he was a resident
of Autauga County; and that he directed the MVFD's work
and assisted with the pronouncements of death in this case.
In her affidavit, Ricketts stated that she was also the
assistant chief of the MVFD; that she also assisted in the
pronouncements of death; and that she also assisted with
and Marquita were both residents of Autauga County. At all
material times, Orcutt was a resident of Pensacola, Florida.
Quality Carriers is an Illinois corporation, with its
principal place of business in Tampa, Florida. Quality
Carriers has never been an Alabama corporation and has never
had its principal place of business in Alabama.
March 19, 2014, Robert Speer (" Speer" ), as
administrator of Livingston's estate, filed a complaint
in the Dallas Circuit Court against Quality Carriers, Orcutt,
and Woods. Speer, a resident of Autauga County, asserted
claims of negligence and wantonness against all the
defendants. With regard to Woods, Speer asserted that Woods
had negligently and wantonly failed to move his automobile
out of the lane of traffic, which resulted in the collision.
He asserted that Woods had breached his duty of care by
" failing to pay proper attention to the roadway and the
traffic, failing to obey the laws and rules of the State of
Alabama, failing to control the vehicle in order to avoid a
collision, and failing to move his vehicle out of the lanes
of traffic when stalled which resulted in a collision.
Further, Defendant Woods was not fit to safely operate a
motor vehicle at the time of the incident in question."
also asserted claims of negligent entrustment, negligent
hiring, and negligent supervision against Quality Carriers.
Woods subsequently answered the complaint and filed
cross-claims against Quality Carriers and Orcutt.
12, 2014, Quality Carriers and Orcutt filed a motion to
transfer the action from Dallas County to Autauga County
based on the doctrine of forum non conveniens, as codified in
§ 6-3-21.1, Ala. Code 1975. On August 19, 2014, Speer
filed his first amended complaint and a response in
opposition to the motion to transfer. In his amended
complaint, Speer amended his negligence and wantonness claims
against Woods to add the allegation that Woods had "
negligently and wantonly inspected his vehicle." On
August 19, 2014, Woods filed a " Joinder in Opposition
to the Motion to Transfer Venue." On October 15, 2014,
the trial court denied the motion to transfer. This petition
" A petition for a writ of mandamus is the appropriate
'method for obtaining review of a denial of a motion for
a change of venue' pursuant to § 6-3-21.1. Ex parte
National Sec. ...