Calhoun Circuit Court, CV-15-900517
PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS
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.
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 plaintiff's 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 Seriana's, 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 plaintiffs moved
to dismiss Karen's loss-of-consortium claim.
October 18, 2018, Stevens filed a motion for a change of
venue from Calhoun County to Talladega County. In its motion,
"1. The plaintiffs inadvertently filed the case in
Calhoun County, Alabama instead of ...