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Plaintiffs could see larger awards with new Alabama law regarding District Court Jurisdiction

The Alabama legislature recently amended the statute regarding District Court jurisdiction. The amendment will significantly change the procedure for lawsuits filed in District Court. Beginning September 1, 2019, the jurisdictional limit in District Court will increase from $10,000.00 to $20,000.00.  That means that cases can be brought in District Court in which recovery being sought is $20,000.00 or less.  The amendment also creates “concurrent jurisdiction” between District Courts and Circuit Courts. Essentially, if Plaintiff seeks an amount between $6,000.00 and $20,000.00, the Defendant can “remove” the case to Circuit Court, requesting a jury trial. If the Defendant wants to remove a case to Circuit Court, it must do so within thirty (30) days from the date of service.  A word of caution:  Removal to Circuit Court by a Defendant automatically eliminates the $20,000.00 jurisdictional limit on damages. Therefore, if a Defendant elects to remove the case to Circuit Court, and requests a jury trial, recovery is no longer limited to $20,000.00

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