PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS (Calhoun Circuit Court,
CV-15-900517). Debra H. Jones, Judge
R. Rhea of Rhea, Boyd & Rhea, Gadsden, for petitioner.
P. Brunson of Brunson, Robinson & Huffstutler, Attorneys,
P.A., Gadsden, for respondents.
Seriana, the remaining plaintiff below, filed a petition for
a writ of mandamus requesting that this Court order the
Calhoun Circuit Court to vacate its October 23, 2018, order
granting the motion for a change of venue filed by Joe
Stevens, LLC ("Stevens"), one of defendants below.
We grant the petition and issue the writ.
Facts and Procedural History
September 24, 2015, Seriana and his wife, Karen Seriana, sued
Joe Todd Stevens and various fictitiously named defendants in
the Calhoun Circuit Court. The complaint alleged that Joe
Todd Stevens was a contractor who did business in northeast
Alabama. The complaint further alleged:
"5. In the early morning hours of March 14, 2014, the
plaintiff, Tim Seriana, was traversing the premises of his
employer, Alabama Speciality Products, Inc. In the hours
preceding the plaintiffs course of pedestrian travel, Joe
Todd Stevens and/or fictitious party defendants constructed
and/or participated in certain landscaping and/or earth
removal so as to create an exposed ditch, hole and/or other
excavated area. The defendants, both named and fictitious,
failed to barricade, recover and/or otherwise light the
area[,] thus giving rise to a hazardous, dangerous and/or
otherwise altered condition.
"6. While taking his usual pedestrian course from his
vehicle to his place of work, plaintiff, Tim Seriana, was
caused to fall into the ditch and/or hole and/or excavated
area created by the defendants, both named and fictitious.
"7. Plaintiff alleges that the ditch and/or hole and/or
excavated area was created without notice to the plaintiff
and without warning to the plaintiff. Furthermore, the ditch,
hole and/or excavated area was neither barricaded, roped
off, illuminated and/or otherwise recovered or restored to
its original condition so as to warn the plaintiff and/or
others of the danger and risk of injury."
section designating the fictitiously named defendants, the
complaint indicated that the Alabama Speciality Products,
Inc., facility, where the injury occurred, was located in
Munford, Alabama, which is in Talladega County. Seriana
alleged that he suffered injuries and damage as a result of
the fall. Seriana asserted that the defendants actions
constituted negligence, willfulness, wantonness, and/or
recklessness and that their actions also constituted "a
violation of rules, regulations and guidelines governing the
conduct of the defendants, both named and fictitious."
Karen asserted a claim alleging loss of consortium. On August
19, 2016, the plaintiffs filed an "Amendment to
Complaint to More Particularly Identify Defendant
Party." The amended complaint alleged:
"15. That the defendant, Joe Stevens, LLC., is an entity
owned exclusively by defendant Joe Todd Stevens. Joe Stevens,
LLC., contracted with plaintiff, Tim Serianas, employer,
Alabama Speciality Products, Inc., to excavate and/or
otherwise perform certain construction activities on the
property of Alabama Speciality Products, Inc.
"16. Although Alabama Speciality Products, Inc., paid
Joe Todd Stevens for services that Joe Stevens, LLC., and Joe
Todd Stevens provided to Alabama Speciality Products, Inc.,
Joe Todd Stevens has identified Joe Stevens, LLC., as the
entity that, by agreement, performed the services at [the]
Alabama Speciality Products, Inc., facility.
"Therefore, pursuant to provisions of [Ala. R. Civ. P.]
15(c)(3), plaintiffs amend their complaint to identify, on
the basis of information provided by Joe Todd Stevens, Joe
Stevens, LLC., as a proper party defendant to respond to
claims made the basis of this litigation."
August 23, 2016, the trial court entered an order allowing
the amendment to the complaint. On August 14, 2017, Stevens
filed an answer, and, on June 13, 2018, the ...