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The Defense wins

Sean W. Martin, shareholder of the Chattanooga, Tennessee, office of Carr Allison, recently received two favorable decisions from a single lawsuit spanning two federal district courts in Georgia.

The saga began with the filing of two separate lawsuits arising out of the same tractor trailer accident in the Superior Court of Muscogee County, Georgia. One case was filed against the trucking company and its driver, while the other was filed against the insurer for the trucking company named in the first suit. Georgia law permits direct actions against insurers in cases involving tractor trailers. Both cases were removed to Federal Court for the Middle District of Georgia.

In the case against the trucking company and its driver, Mr. Martin moved to transfer to Alabama, the more appropriate venue. Upon receipt of the motion, plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed the case. In the second suit, Mr. Martin filed a motion to dismiss because Alabama substantive law, which governs the case, does not permit direct actions against insurance companies.

While vigorously defending Mr. Martin’s motion to dismiss, plaintiffs chose to refile the suit against the trucking company and its driver in the State Court of Gwinnett County, Georgia. Mr. Martin immediately removed that case to the Northern District of Georgia and filed a motion to transfer venue to Alabama.

The motion to transfer was granted first and soon thereafter the motion to dismiss was granted.

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