South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Trial Moved to State Where Accident Occurred Since Most Witnesses in That State
Description Alabama high court held that a wrongful death action filed in Alabama state court against an automobile maker for injuries sustained in an accident in Florida, should be moved to Florida on the basis of forum non conveniens since almost all witnesses were in Florida.
Topic Court Procedure
Key Words Forum Non Conveniens; Witnesses; Jurisdiction
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Three occupants of a Kia automobile, who were from Alabama, were killed in a high-speed accident in Florida. Administrators of the estate of the deceased sued Kia in Alabama state court for product liability. Kia moved to dismiss the Alabama actions on ground of forum non conveniens and requested the trial be moved to Florida. Kia intended to call 25 witnesses, all from Florida. The trial court refused to move the trial. Kia appealed.
Decision

Reversed; motion granted. Failure to dismiss the claims under the doctrine of forum non conveniens was an abuse of discretion by the trial court considering that the causes of action accrued in Florida and that almost all witnesses were in Florida. Most of the witnesses could not be subpoenaed to personally appear in Alabama court.

Citation Ex parte Kia Motors America, Inc., --- So.2d --- (2003 WL 210400313, Sup. Ct., Ala., 2003)

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