MOTION TO DISMISS - STATE AGENT IMMUNITY - SANDERS V. HORTON
In Sanders v. Horton, [Ms. 1081783, March 12, 2010] ___ So.3d ___ (Ala. 2010), the Supreme Court of Alabama reaffirmed the long-standing rule that a motion to dismiss is not appropriate if there is any conceivable set of facts that a plaintiff could prove that would allow the plaintiff to possibly prevail. There, the plaintiff filed an action against the Alabama Department of Public Safety and several supervising employees, in both their individual and official capacities, alleging torts arising out of a traffic stop. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss based on state agent immunity. The trial court denied the supervisor employees' motion to dismiss. The supervisor employees filed a petition for writ of mandamus directing the trial court to dismiss the plaintiff's claims based on the defense of state agent immunity. The Court held that state agent immunity may be withheld upon showing that the state agent acted willfully, maliciously, fraudulently, in bad faith, or beyond his/her authority. Thus, because the Court is required to view the allegations in the complaint most strongly in the plaintiff's favor, the Court concluded that they could not, at the motion to dismiss stage, dismiss the plaintiff's claims.