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Ex parte Thorn

Alabama Supreme Court
788 So. 2d 140 (2000)


Raymond Bethel (plaintiff) sued Diesel “Repower,” Inc. (Diesel) (defendant) and its president Rex Thorn (defendant), alleging breach of contract, fraud, fraudulent suppression, and negligence arising out of two contracts for the purchase of a marine engine and transmission and three generators from Diesel. Thorn and Diesel moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The trial court granted Thorn’s motion but denied Diesel’s motion. Bethel appealed the grant of Thorn’s motion, and the Alabama Supreme Court held that Bethel had properly stated claims against Thorn. Bethel then filed an amended complaint seeking to add Thorn’s wife (defendant) and Thorn’s Diesel Service, Inc. (Service) (defendant), alleging that Diesel and its successor Service were alter egos of the Thorns. Bethel sought to pierce the corporate veil and requested a jury trial on all counts. The Thorns and Service moved to sever Bethel’s claims. The trial court denied the motion. The Thorns and Service petitioned the Alabama Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus, arguing that the corporate-veil-piercing claim was equitable and that Bethel therefore had no jury-trial right on the claim.

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