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STATE AGENT IMMUNITY - EX PARTE CITY OF MONTGOMERY, ET AL.

In Ex parte City of Montgomery, et al., [Ms. 1101435, Apr. 6, 2012] __ So. 3d __(Ala. 2012), the plaintiffs alleged that the City of Montgomery and several of its police officers were liable for tortious conduct arising out of three separate incidents regarding three different plaintiffs who suffered from some physical disability. The city and the officers moved for summary judgment pursuant to Ala. Code ¤6-5-338(a) and the doctrine of state agent immunity set forth in Ex parte Cranman, 792 So.2d 392 (Ala. 2000). The trial court denied the motion and the defendants petitioned for a writ of mandamus. The plaintiffs contended that the police officers were not entitled to state agent immunity because they had acted beyond their authority or under a mistaken interpretation of the law in violation of the "Law Enforcement and Disabilities Manual." The Supreme Court held that the plaintiffs failed to establish that the Montgomery Police Department had adopted the manual or that it was binding on officers. Accordingly, the plaintiffs failed to establish the officers acted beyond their authority by failing to "discharge duties pursuant to detailed rules and regulations." The Court then performed an analysis of each individual situation. The Court held that, in one of the incidents, the officer involved was entitled to state agent immunity since the plaintiff had failed to satisfy the burden of proving that the police officer acted "willfully, maliciously, fraudulently, in bad faith, or beyond his ... authority." In the other two incidents, the Court held that the police officers were not entitled to summary judgment in their favor because the evidence in those incidents could establish that the officers acted willfully, maliciously, fraudulently, in bad faith, beyond their authority or under a mistaken interpretation of law. Accordingly, the writ of mandamus was granted in part and denied in part.
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