STATE AGENT IMMUNITY - HEALTH CARE AUTHORITY FOR BAPTIST HEALTH, AN AFFILIATE OF UAB HEALTH SYSTEM, D/B/A BAPTIST MEDICAL CENTER EAST V. DAVIS
In Health Care Authority for Baptist Health, an Affiliate of UAB Health System, d/b/a Baptist Medical Center East v. Davis, [Ms. 1090084, Jan. 14, 2011] __ So. 3d __(Ala. 2011), the Supreme Court of Alabama, in a case of first impression, held that a Health Care Authority ("HCA") created by a state educational institution is entitled to state immunity. The parties argued principally that the affiliation between the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Baptist Hospital in Montgomery failed to create a properly formed HCA, and that the $100,000 cap for "governmental entities" should not apply to this affiliation. The defendant did not argue to the circuit court that it was entitled to immunity under ¤ 14, but the Supreme Court addressed this issue as a question of subject-matter jurisdiction. It held that the HCA was properly formed by UAB and, as an agency of this State educational institution, it was absolutely immune. The Court vacated the $3.2 million judgment against the HCA for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction and dismissed the appeal. Chief Justice Cobb's dissent expresses the opinion that this holding conflicts with the requirement in the HCA Act that an HCA's assets must revert to the creating governmental entity and is inconsistent with the cases addressing whether and when a public corporation is in fact the State for purpose of ¤ 14.