Determining the proper venue for Tuscaloosa and West Alabama personal injury cases filed against corporations requires a detailed understanding of Alabama law. Our Personal Injury Attorneys at Cross & Smith have vast experience in handling Tuscaloosa and West Alabama personal injury and accident cases.
Alabama Code § 6-3-7(a) governs venue for actions against both foreign (out-of-state) and domestic (in-state) corporations. Venue may be proper in one or more counties in Alabama depending on the circumstances. Alabama Code § 6-3-7(a) allows for civil actions against corporations to brought in any of the following counties: (1) county where a substantial part of the events or omissions giving rise to the claim occurred; or (2) county of the corporation’s principal office in the state; or (3) county in which the plaintiff resided provided the corporation does by agent in that county; or (4) if subdivisions (1), (2) or (3) do not apply, in any county in which the corporation was doing business by agent at the time of the accrual of the cause of action.
Often times, venue is proper in more than one county. For instance, assume an employee of a corporation (while acting in the line and scope of his or her employment) has an automobile accident in Tuscaloosa County. Further assume that the corporation’s principal office in Alabama is in Jefferson County. Also, assume that the Plaintiff resides in Bibb County and the corporation does business by agent in Bibb County. Assuming these facts to be true, venue would be proper in: (1) Tuscaloosa County: county where the acts or omissions occurred; (2) Jefferson County: county of the corporation’s principal office in Alabama; and (3) Bibb County: county where plaintiff resides and where corporation does business by agent. Therefore, under this scenario, the plaintiff would have the choice of filing his or her lawsuit in Tuscaloosa County, Jefferson County or Bibb County.
Once a lawsuit is filed, the defendant may petition the Court to transfer the case to another proper venue, under the doctrine of forum non conveniens, for the convenience of the parties and witnesses or in the interest of justice. This process is governed by Alabama Code § 6-3-21.1(a). The trial court is required to give deference to the plaintiff’s choice of a proper venue. The burden is on the defendant to show that the transferee forum (venue) is significantly more convenient than the plaintiff’s chosen forum (venue). With respect to the interest of justice analysis, the trial court focuses on whether the nexus or connection between the plaintiff’s action and the original forum (venue) is strong enough to warrant burdening the plaintiff’s forum with the action. Ex parte Wachovia Bank, 77 So. 3d 570, 573 (Ala. 2011).
If you, or someone close to you, have been injured in a Tuscaloosa or West Alabama accident, please call the experienced Tuscaloosa, Alabama Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys at Cross & Smith. The lawyers at Cross & Smith have represented individuals in a wide variety of personal injury accident cases in Tuscaloosa and throughout Alabama for over 20 years. You may contact us online or call our office at (877) 791-0618 for a free confidential consultation.