Mandamus Review Not Available For Pre-Trial Ruling On Motion In Limine

Although it was decided in the criminal law context, the case Ex parte King, [Ms. 1071540] (Ala. Jan. 9, 2009), may be instructive in civil cases.  In King,  the Alabama Supreme Court held that mandamus review of a pre-trial ruling on a motion in limine regarding evidence is not approrpiate.  The Court noted that there were no published opinions in Alabama covering this scenario, but, well settled propositions show that such a review is not allowed.  Evidentiary rulings are reviewed to determine whether a trial court exceeded its discretion.  These types of rulings are not approrpiate for mandamus review because  "circumstances involving alleged errors of judgment, or errors in the exercise of judicial discretion, [do] not constitute grounds for invoking supervisory mandamus."  Slip Op. p. 6, quoting Ex parte Nice, 407 So. 2d 874, 882 (Ala. 1981).

Transfer Based On Forum Non Conveniens Not Allowed Where Venue Is Not Proper In Original County

In Ex parte AIG Baker Orange Beach Wharf, [Ms. 1071345] (Ala. Jan. 9, 2009), the Alabama Supreme Court held than an order transferring a case based on forum non conveniens is only proper where venue is proper in the original county.  If venue is improper in the original county, then a transfer based on forum non conveniens is inappropriate, and the case would have to be sent back to the original county, even though venue is not proper there.

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Petition For Writ of Mandamus Denied As Untimely

In Ex parte CJA [Ms. 2070994] (Ala. Civ. App. Jan. 9. 2009), the Court of Civil Appeals denied a petition for writ of mandamus because it was filed after the presumptively reasonable time to appeal, and did not state good cause for failing to file it within the reasonable time.  Further, the fiing of a "motion to set aside" the original order did not toll the time in which a mandamus may be filed. The court, however, also went on to discuss the merits of the petition, and said it was due to be denied on that basis as well.  Judges Moore and Thomas dissented, saying that because the petition was untimely, it should be "dismissed" instead of  "denied," and there was no needto discuss the merits of the petition. 

Failure to Attach Relevant Documents to Mandums Petition Leads to Denial

In Ex parte Allianz Ins. Co. of North America, [Ms. 1070114] (Ala. Dec. 5, 2008), the Court demonstrated the importance of attaching all necessary documents to a petition for writ of mandamus.  The petitioners sought a writ of mandmus to have an order compelling discovery reversed.  However, the petitioners did not attach to th epetition a copy of its response to the motion to compel or a copy of its motion for protective order.  Because the petitioners did not show that they made the arguments to the trial court, and because they failed to present all necessary parts of the record to the Court, the petition was denied.

Recusal-Based 60(b)(6) Motion Late Where Moving Party Obtained Underlying Document Six Years Earlier

A defendant found no relief from judgment under Rule 60(b)(6) where he had obtained the document supporting his plea for relief six years before he filed his motion. Price v. Clayton, Nos. 2070728, 2070755 (Ala. Civ. App. Oct. 31, 2008). The trial court’s denial of the recusal-based 60(b)(6) motion was affirmed.

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Employer Fails to Show Good Cause for Late Petition, Appeals From Non-Final Order

The Court of Civil Appeals rejected an employer’s bid to reverse a workers’ compensation award in two consolidated proceedings. The employer’s petition for mandamus was denied as late — the employer having not shown “good cause” for its delay in filing the petition. The employer’s appeal was dismissed as being from a non-final judgment. Ex parte C & D Logging, Nos. 2070159, 2070198 (Ala. Civ. App. Aug. 29, 2008).

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Mandamus Petition Timed from Ruling on Motion for Protective Order

A mandamus petition’s timeliness is measured from the date the trial court rules on a motion for a protective order — not from the date of its earlier order compelling production of the same material. Ex parte Nationwide Ins. Co., No. 1051502 (Ala. Mar. 7, 2008).

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A Motion to Alter or Vacate a Discovery Order Does Not Extend the Presumptively Reasonable Time Within With to File a Mandamus Petition

In Ex parte Hoyt , No. 2060858, released October 12, 2007, the Court of Civil Appeals dismissed a mandamus petition seeking review of the trial court’s discovery order because the petitioner failed to file it within the presumptively reasonable time period or to include a statement of reasons as to why the court should consider the petition notwithstanding its untimeliness.  

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