Thursday, August 28, 2014

Change of Venue

 A party may request a change of venue under certain circumstances.  Mississippi Code Annotated § 11-11-51 (2013) provides as follows:

"When either party to any civil action in the circuit court shall desire to change the venue, he shall present to the court, or the judge of the district, a petition setting forth under oath that he has good reason to believe, and does believe that, from the undue influence of the adverse party, prejudice existing in the public mind, or for some other sufficient cause to be stated in the petition, he cannot obtain a fair and impartial trial in the county where the action is pending, and that the application is made as soon as convenient after being advised of such undue influence, prejudice, or other cause, and not to delay the trial or to vex or harass the adverse party. On reasonable notice in writing to the adverse party of the time and place of making the application, if made in vacation, the court, if in term time, or the judge in vacation, shall hear the parties and examine the evidence which either may adduce, and may award a change of venue to some convenient county where an impartial trial may be had, and, if practicable, in which the circuit court may next be held. If made in vacation, the order shall be indorsed on the petition and directed to the clerk, who shall file the same with the papers in the suit."

The rule sets forth some pretty strict requirements of the motion being filed under oath and furthermore that said motion be timely made and not to harass a party.  The purpose of it being made timely is to prevent gamesmanship.  There are a few cases out there floating around that seem to say that any failure to comply with the statute results in waiver of the issue. 

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