STATE-AGENT IMMUNITY - HAYWOOD AND HALL V. ALEXANDER
Haywood and Hall v. Alexander, [Ms. 1111316, Feb. 22, 2013] ____ So. 3d ___ (Ala. 2013). Scott Cotney, an administrator at the Clay County jail, sued Haywood and Hall, former inmates at the jail, alleging defamation. They counterclaimed and added Sheriff Alexander as a defendant to their counterclaim, alleging "that Cotney had used his position as an administrator at the jail to sexually abuse and/or to assault Haywood and Hall while they were incarcerated in the jail." The circuit court granted Sheriff Alexander's motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court affirms in part, reverses in part, holding: (1) It was proper under Rules 13(h) and 20(a), Ala. R. Civ. P., to add Sheriff Alexander as a defendant to the counterclaim against Cotney, rather than separately filing a third-party complaint against Sheriff Alexander. (2) Because Haywood and Hall were convicted felons, they properly stated their claims under the Eighth Amendment, alleging cruel and unusual punishment, rather than alleging violations of the Due Process Clause, which would have been their avenue of relief if they had been only pre-trial detainees. (3) The complaint sufficiently alleged supervisory liability against Sheriff Alexander to state a claim of an unlawful search and seizure against her under the Fourth Amendment. (4) Sheriff Alexander is entitled to absolute immunity under the Eleventh Amendment and ¤ 14 of the Alabama Constitution as to the claims stated against her in her official capacity, and, as to state-law claims, ¤ 14 immunity in both her individual and official capacities. (5) As to the federal claim under 42 U.S.C., ¤ 1983 against Sheriff Alexander, she is not entitled to immunity in her individual capacity, at least on a motion to dismiss. Haywood and Hall argued that they were not required to comply with a heightened pleading standard. Sheriff Alexander did not file an appellee's brief arguing that a heightened pleading standard applied, so the Court declined to apply one.