EX PARTE SEA COAST DISPOSAL, INC. (In re: Shawn O. Bell
Sea Coast Disposal, Inc.)
Circuit Court, CV-18-900185
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
M. Roberts, Robert A. Hornbuckle, and Amanda L. Mink of
Burgess Roberts LLC, Birmingham, for petitioner.
Ingram of Carpenter, Ingram & Mosholder, LLP, Montgomery,
Coast Disposal, Inc. ("the employer"), petitions
this court for a writ of mandamus directing the Dallas
Circuit Court ("the trial court") to vacate that
portion of its July 24, 2019, order finding that the neck and
lower back injuries of Shawn O. Bell ("the
employee") are compensable under the Alabama
Workers' Compensation Act ("the Act"), §
25-5-1 et seq., Ala. Code 1975. We grant the petition in part
and deny it in part.
20, 2018, the employee sued the employer, alleging that,
while working within the line and scope of his employment
with the employer as a garbage-truck driver on November 24,
2017, he had injured his left shoulder, neck, and lower back
when he lifted a garbage can that had been overturned by the
robotic arm on the garbage truck he was driving. As relief,
the employee sought compensation and medical and vocational
benefits pursuant to the Act. On July 12, 2019, the trial
court held a bench trial that was limited to the issue
whether the employee's injuries to his left shoulder,
neck, and lower back are compensable under the Act. On July
24, 2019, the trial court entered an order finding that those
injuries are compensable but reserving a ruling on the
remaining issues. The employer filed its petition for a
writ of mandamus on September 3, 2019, which was within the
42-day presumptively reasonable time for doing so.
See Rule 21(a)(3), Ala. R. App. P. ("The
presumptively reasonable time for filing a petition seeking
[mandamus] review of an order of a trial court ... shall be
the same as for taking an appeal."); and §
25-5-81(e), Ala. Code 1975 (providing that the period for
filing a notice of appeal from an order or judgment in a
workers' compensation action is 42 days).
of Mandamus Review and Requirements for Mandamus Relief
the trial court's July 24, 2019, order did not dispose of
all the issues pending before the trial court, it is not a
final judgment from which an appeal will lie under current
caselaw. See, e.g., Adams v. NaphCare,
Inc., 869 So.2d 1179, 1181 (Ala.Civ.App. 2003). This
court has held that a petition for a writ of mandamus is the
appropriate means of seeking review of an interlocutory order
determining compensability in a workers' compensation
action. See Ex parte Ampro Prods., Inc., 252 So.3d
683, 687 (Ala.Civ.App. 2017) (holding that a petition for a
writ of mandamus was the appropriate means of seeking review
of a trial court's order finding an employee's injury
compensable under the Act but reserving a ruling on other
issues); see also Ex parte Fairhope Health & Rehab,
LLC, 175 So.3d 622, 626 (Ala.Civ.App. 2015) (the same).
Therefore, the employer's petition for the writ of
mandamus is appropriately before us.
"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.
employer argues that substantial evidence does not support
the trial court's findings that the employee's neck