Alabama Passes Legislation to Adopt Expedited Trial Procedures, Louisiana to Study Options

January 14, 2013

Alabama has passed legislation, SB 47 (Act 2012-492), which requires the Alabama Supreme Court to adopt expedited trial procedures for cases in circuit court where the amount in controversy does not exceed $50,000. Although the threshold is lower, the bill mirrors legislation passed in Texas in 2011 requiring the passage of expedited trial procedures in that state for actions less than $100,000. The Texas Supreme Court recently issued the resulting rules for expedited cases, which are mandatory and put limits on pretrial discovery. In contrast, Louisiana also passed legislation, HCR 81, which requests the Louisiana State Law Institute study jury trial procedures and make recommendations for an expedited or summary jury trial program. The legislation notes that “expedited or summary jury trial procedures modeled after successful procedures employed in other states and enacted in this state could result in more efficient use of our judicial resources and provide greater access to juries by civil litigants.”