Ex parte Roy S. Moore and Judge Roy Moore for U.S. Senate
Roy S. Moore and Judge Roy Moore for U.S. Senate In re: Leigh Corfman
Montgomery Circuit Court, CV-18-900017
PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS
SELLERS, ACTING CHIEF JUSTICE. 
Moore and his campaign committee, "Judge Roy Moore for
U.S. Senate" ("the Committee"), have
petitioned this Court for a writ of mandamus directing the
Montgomery Circuit Court ("the trial court") to
transfer an action filed by Leigh Corfman alleging defamation
against Moore and the Committee to the Etowah Circuit Court.
We deny the petition.
materials before the Court indicate that, in the fall of
2017, while Moore was a candidate for the United States
Senate, reporters working for the Washington Post
newspaper approached Corfman and questioned her about Moore.
Corfman told the reporters that Moore had abused her in 1979
when she was 14 years old and Moore was 32 years old.
Corfman's allegations appeared in a Washington
Post article published on November 9, 2017. Moore has
denied the allegations.
January 2018, Corfman filed in the Montgomery Circuit Court
the defamation action underlying this mandamus petition. She
averred in her complaint that, after publication of the
Washington Post article, Moore and alleged
representatives of the Committee asserted at campaign-related
events, in public statements, and during media interviews
that Corfman's allegations of abuse were false,
malicious, and politically motivated. According to Corfman,
Moore and the Committee "defamed [her] repeatedly and in
all forms of media [by] calling her a liar and questioning
her motivation for publicly disclosing [the alleged
abuse]." Corfman's complaint also points to an
affidavit Moore submitted to the Montgomery Circuit Court in
an election contest he filed challenging the results of the
election for the United States Senate seat. In the affidavit,
Moore described Corfman's abuse allegations as
"false" and "malicious" and averred that
the results of a polygraph test showed that he had never had
any contact with her.
and the Committee filed a motion for a change of venue of
Corfman's defamation action to the Etowah Circuit Court
based on the doctrine of forum non conveniens. The
trial court denied that motion, and Moore and the Committee
filed this mandamus petition.
"Mandamus is a drastic and extraordinary writ, to be
issued only where there is (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. Ex parte Integon
Corp., 672 So.2d 497, 499 (Ala. 1995). 'A petition
for the writ of mandamus is a proper method for presenting a
venue challenge based on the doctrine of forum non
conveniens.' Id. (citations omitted). We apply
the abuse-of-discretion standard when considering a mandamus
petition challenging a venue ruling, and we will not issue
the writ unless the trial court exercised its discretion in
an arbitrary and capricious manner. Id."
Ex parte Brookwood Health Servs., Inc., 781 So.2d
954, 956-57 (Ala. 2000). Moore and the Committee bore the
burden of persuasion in the trial court, Ex parte
Perfection Siding, Inc., 882 So.2d 307, 312
(Ala. 2003), and they bear a heavy burden in this Court.
Ex parte East Alabama Mental Health-Mental
Retardation Bd., Inc., 939 So.2d 1, 5 (Ala. 2006). In
reviewing the trial court's judgment, we are limited to
the facts that were presented to that court. Ex
parte Kane, 989 So.2d 509, 511 (Ala. 2008).
forum non conveniens statute provides:
"With respect to civil actions filed in an appropriate
venue, any court of general jurisdiction shall, for the
convenience of parties and witnesses, or in the interest of
justice, transfer any civil action or any claim in any civil
action to any court of general jurisdiction in which the
action might have been properly filed and the case shall
proceed as though originally filed therein."
§ 6-3-21.1, Ala. Code 1975. Moore and the Committee rely
primarily on the interest-of-justice prong of the forum
non conveniens statute, although they also
address the convenience-of-the-parties-and-witnesses prong.
"The 'interest of justice' prong of §
6-3-21.1 requires 'the transfer of the action from a
county with little, if any, connection to the action, to the
county with a strong connection to the action.' Ex
parte National Sec. Ins. Co., 727 So.2d  at 790
[(Ala. 1998)]. Therefore, 'in analyzing the
interest-of-justice prong of § 6-3-21.1, this Court
focuses on whether the "nexus" or
"connection" between the plaintiff's action and
the original forum is strong enough to warrant burdening the
plaintiff's forum with the action.' Ex parte
First Tennessee Bank Nat'l Ass'n, 994 So.2d 906,
911 (Ala. 2008)."
Ex parte Indiana Mills & Mfg., Inc., 10 So.3d
536, 540 (Ala. 2008).
Moore and the Committee point out in their mandamus petition,
both Corfman and Moore both live in Etowah County, and
Corfman has alleged that the abuse occurred there. Moore and
the Committee also point out that, although the registered
address of the Committee was in Montgomery County during the
campaign and the election, a few days after Corfman filed her
defamation complaint the Committee changed its address to an
address in Etowah County. They assert that the Committee has
stopped conducting any activity in Montgomery County and has