Ex parte Shaundalyn N. Elliott
Allstate Insurance Company In re: Shaundalyn N. Elliott
Circuit Court, CV-17-900017
PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS
Elliott petitions this Court for a writ of mandamus directing
the Lowndes Circuit Court to vacate its order transferring
this case to the Montgomery Circuit Court. We grant the
petition and issue the writ.
Facts and Procedural History
11, 2014, Elliott, a resident of Montgomery County, was
injured in an automobile accident in the City of Hayneville
in Lowndes County. On February 23, 2017, Elliott filed this
lawsuit in the Lowndes Circuit Court against her automobile
insurer, Allstate Insurance Company ("Allstate"),
seeking uninsured-motorist benefits related to the accident.
Elliot alleged that the accident was caused by a
"phantom driver, " whose location is unknown.
March 16, 2017, Allstate filed a motion to transfer the
action from the Lowndes Circuit Court to the Montgomery
Circuit Court. The motion stated:
"1. This is a breach of contract action wherein
[Elliott] claims uninsured motorist insurance policy benefits
"2. [Elliott] is presently and was at the time of the
motor vehicle accident in question a resident of Montgomery
County, Alabama (see Complaint).
"3. Allstate is presently and was at the time of the
incident in question a foreign corporation with [its]
principal place of business in the State of Illinois.
"4. The Allstate insurance policy in question was
entered into and issued to [Elliott] by Allstate in
Montgomery County, Alabama. ...
"5. Upon information and belief, Allstate states that
all medical treatment which [Elliott] claims is related to
the accident in question occurred in Montgomery County,
Alabama. Further, Allstate does business by agent in
Montgomery County, Alabama.
"6. Additionally, pursuant to the provisions of §
6-3-21.1, [Ala. Code 1975, ] this action is due to be
transferred to the Circuit Court for Montgomery County,
Alabama, for the convenience of the parties and witnesses
and/or in the interest of justice. The only nexus to Lowndes
County, Alabama, is that the accident in question occurred in
Lowndes County, Alabama."
to the motion was the affidavit of Suzanne Lowe, the
insurance agent who issued the policy to Elliott. Lowe
attested that the Allstate policy was issued to Elliott in
filed a response to the motion for a change of venue. In her
response, Elliott argued that because the accident and her
injuries occurred in Lowndes County, Lowndes County, which
has a strong connection to the action, is a proper venue
under § 6-3-7, Ala. Code 1975. She noted that the
accident was investigated by a City of Hayneville police
officer. Citing prior precedent of this Court, Elliott argued
that there was a strong nexus between the action and Lowndes
County so that transferring the action to Montgomery County
pursuant to § 6-3-21.1, Ala. Code 1975, would be