Alabama Appellate Opinions
We are committed to sharing decisions and providing legal updates that may be beneficial to you and your teams. Included below are summaries of cases recently released by Alabama Appellate Courts. Please reach out to any member of our Appellate Practice  group with any questions.

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Alabama Appellate Opinions Release Date(s):
February 14, 2020
Huie Case of Note: Congratulations to Phil Collins for his successful appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court. See featured case below, Eyer v. Crestwood .
Alabama Supreme Court
Court Upholds Dismissal of Slip and Fall Case Where Plaintiff Claimed Premises Owner Should Have Warned of the Particular Dangers of Floor Cleaner

Eyer v. Crestwood

Eyer involved a typical premises liability “slip-and-fall” case but for the fact that, while visiting her husband’s parent at the premises owner hospital, Plaintiff Jo Eyer was present in the room when the floor was mopped 10-15 minutes prior to her falling. The Trial Court granted Crestwood’s Motion for Summary Judgment, holding that the wet floor was “open and obvious,” and that the hospital / premises owner did not have superior knowledge to the Plaintiff of the alleged hazard.

Plaintiff’s theory in opposition to summary judgment and in support of its appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court suggested that the fact that Crestwood’s housekeeping staff used a product called “Virex” to mop the floor and that the Virex labeling that stated “for disinfection, all surfaces must remain wet for 10 minutes” meant that the Virex was “designed to keep the floor wet” for at least 10 minutes. Plaintiff suggested that the hospital / premises owner had a duty to notify the Plaintiff that the mop mixture contained the Virex product. However, Plaintiff offered no evidence that the evaporation rate of a mop mixture that contained the Virex product was any different from any other mixture that did not contain the Virex. The Alabama Supreme Court affirmed without opinion the Trial Court’s summary judgment order and denial of Plaintiff’s Motion for Reconsideration.
Court Finds That Third-Party Beneficiaries May be Forced to Arbitrate Under AAA Rules

Wiggins v. Warren Averett, LLC

In 2010, Eastern Shore Children’s Clinic, P.C. (“Eastern Shore”) entered into a contract with Warren Averett, an accounting firm, to provide services to Eastern Shore, including providing individual income-tax returns to each of Eastern Shore’s doctors, including Warner Wiggins (“Wiggins”). The contract included a clause that mandated arbitration and incorporated American Arbitration Association (AAA) rules. Wiggins later became involved in a dispute with Warren Averett related to their preparation of his income tax returns. When he filed a suit alleging accounting malpractice, Warren Averett filed a motion to compel arbitration which was granted. Wiggins appealed.

The Alabama Supreme Court found that even though Wiggins was not a signatory to the contract that included the arbitration clause, his case against Warren Averett would proceed to arbitration, and that the arbiter would determine whether the arbitration clause applied to Wiggins. In denying Wiggins’ appeal, the Court relied on a long line of cases that have established that when an arbitration contract adopts the AAA rules, that amounts to a “clear and unmistakable” indication that the arbiter will have the authority to determine initial issues of arbitrability, even when applied to third-party beneficiaries.
Alabama Court of Civil Appeals
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