Ex parte Quality Carriers, Inc.Annotate this Case
Defendants Quality Carriers, Inc. and Bennie Hugh Orcutt filed a petition for a writ of mandamus to direct the Dallas Circuit Court to vacate its order denying their motion to transfer the underlying action to the Autauga Circuit Court and to enter an order granting the motion. Desmond Woods was driving northbound on Interstate 65 in Autauga County; Kimberly Livingston, Tory Cooper, Marquita Speer ("Marquita"), and Aaron Jones were passengers in the automobile. The automobile Woods was driving had a mechanical problem and stalled in the right travel lane; it was nighttime, and the lights on the automobile were not on. Woods, Cooper, and Jones got out of the automobile and started looking under the hood. Livingston and Marquita remained in the automobile. Orcutt, who was employed by Quality Carriers, was also traveling northbound on Interstate 65 in a tractor-trailer rig that was owned by Quality Carriers. The tractor-trailer rig Orcutt was driving collided with the back of the automobile. Both vehicles caught fire. Livingston and Marquita, who were in the automobile when it caught fire, were pronounced dead at the scene by the Autauga County coroner. Woods and Cooper were transported to Prattville Hospital. According to the accident report, marijuana was found on Woods's person at the hospital. At the time the accident report was filed, toxicology results were pending to determine whether Woods was under the influence of marijuana at the time of the crash. Upon review of defendants' argment on appeal, the Supreme Court concluded that the trial court exceeded its discretion in denying Quality Carriers and Orcutt's motion for a transfer based on the interest-of-justice prong of the forum non conveniens statute. Accordingly, the Court granted the petition for the writ of mandamus and directed the trial court, in the interest of justice, to enter an order transferring the case from the Dallas Circuit Court to the Autauga Circuit Court.