Abusing Discretion by Allowing Amended Pleadings
Ex parte Alfa Mutual Insurance Company: A trial court may abuse its discretion by allowing a plaintiff to amend his complaint in too-close proximity to trial.
On June 10, 2016, the Supreme Court of Alabama released its opinion in the matter of Ex parte Alfa Mutual Insurance Company (arising out of Ronald Gene Lang, et al. v. Alfa Mutual Insurance Company, Circuit Court of St. Clair County, CV-2013-900105), pursuant to Alfa’s petition for writ of mandamus, filed as a result of the trial court allowing the plaintiffs to amend their complaint at a time in close proximity to the trial date. Ex parte Alfa Mutual Insurance Company [Ms. 1141038], — So.3d — (Ala. 2016).
The Alabama Supreme Court ultimately held that where a plaintiff fails to demonstrate good cause for excessive delay in amending his complaint when he knew or should have known of the claims before or at the time he filed his original complaint, the trial court exceeds its discretion in allowing the plaintiff to amend his complaint in close proximity to the trial setting in order to add claims based on facts that were or ought to have been known to the plaintiffs well prior to that date. Resulting from its holding, the Alabama Supreme Court directed the trial court to vacate its denial of Alfa’s motion to strike the amended complaint, and instead to enter an order granting the motion to strike the amended complaint.