W & H Mach. & Tool Co. v. National Distillers & Chem. Corp

In W & H Mach. & Tool Co. v. National Distillers & Chem. Corp., 291 Ala. 517, 283 So. 2d 173 (1973) the Court held that a claim to pierce the corporate veil on an alter ego theory was an equitable claim and, therefore, provided no right to a jury trial. In that case, the plaintiff sued in assumpsit, at law, to recover money damages for the price of goods sold to the subsidiary debtor corporation, a company alleged to be the instrumentality and alter ego of the defendant holding corporation. 291 Ala. at 519, 283 So. 2d at 175. The circuit court transferred the case from its law division to its equity division, concluding that the claims could be disposed of only in equity. Id. Acknowledging that "the right to a jury trial is the real issue in contention between the parties," 291 Ala. at 520, 283 So. 2d at 175, this Court denied the plaintiff's petition for a writ of mandamus, holding that the application of the instrumentality rule in the nontort context properly invoked the jurisdiction of the equity division of the trial court. 291 Ala. at 522, 283 So. 2d at 177.