Venue Proper in County of Employee's Residence at Time of Injury
On January 13, 2012, the Alabama Court of Appeals released its opinion in Ex Parte Billy Barnes Enterprises. In this case, a female truck driver was injured in Mississippi in January of 2006. Her injury was deemed compensable and she received medical treatment and TTD payments, off and on, until May of 2009. In January of 2007, the employee filed suit in Washington County which is where she lived at the time she was injured. The employer asserted that venue was improper and offered evidence that the employee had moved from Washington County to Tallapoosa County in November 2006. The trial judge denied the employer’s motion for transfer of venue and a petition for Writ of Mandamus was subsequently filed.
The employer’s petition was based on the argument that employee’s claim did not accrue until after she reached MMI and received her last TTD payment in May 2009 at which time she lived in Tallapoosa County. That argument was based on statutory language referring to the commencement of the controversy and the commencement of the 2-year statute of limitation, both of which occurred in May 2009.
The Court disagreed with the employer’s position. According to the Court, the claim began accruing at the time of the injury and, therefore, venue was proper in Washington County.