In today’s market place, workers travel all the time for work. An employee may travel to different counties or even different states in the course of their employment. Companies can be registered in another state for tax benefits and have their principal business in Alabama. Companies can even have multiple locations or hubs for business.
In the case of Ex Parte Hibbett Sporting Goods, Inc., the injured worked was on the job in Indiana and was a resident of a location in Lamar County. The injured worker filed a workers’ compensation claim in Lamar County, Alabama where he lived. Hibbett Sporting Goods, Inc. filed a motion to transfer the case to Jefferson County, Alabama, which is its’ corporate office in Alabama.
After a hearing on the matter of jurisdiction, the trial court in Lamar County denied Hibbett’s motion to transfer the case to Jefferson County, Alabama. Hibbett Sporting Goods appealed and filed a Writ of Mandamus. A Writ of Mandamus is an extraordinary appeal forcing a lower court to follow a law and make a trail court change its’ ruling.
The main issue is whether Hibbett Sporting Goods does business in Lamar County as an agent. The Court held that “if the entity is the means by which the principal is able to do business in a county, then the entity is the agent of the principal or corporation in this case for venue purposes.
The Appellate Court ruled that the case was to be transferred to Jefferson County, Alabama. I have a couple of thoughts as to why the injured worker may have wanted to continue the case in Lamar County, Alabama. First, the injured worker worked at a location in Lamar County and lived in that county. To have an injured employee have to travel to Jefferson County, Alabama for court purposes may seem like a burden. Secondly, the injured party may have felt the local court would be more sympathetic to his injury in his home county.
I agree with the appellate court’s decision to transfer this case as to where the corporate headquarters place of business was located.
If you or someone in your family was injured on the job and are seeking to file a workers’ compensation claim, contact Ingram Law LLC at (205) 656-0044. In the last year we have recovered more than $1 million in claims on behalf of injured workers.