IMMUNITY - KENDRICK V. CITY OF MIDFIELD
Kendrick v. City of Midfield, [Ms. 1130886, Apr. 15, 2016] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2016). After a collision between a Midfield police vehicle and plaintiff Kendrick's vehicle, Kendrick sued, and the circuit court entered summary judgment for the City and its police officer based on § 6-5-338, Ala. Code 1975, the peace-officer immunity statute. The Supreme Court addresses the question under the test for State-agent immunity of Ex parte Cranman, 792 So. 2d 392 (Ala. 2000). Kendrick argued that the officer acted beyond his authority and thus was not immune, citing § 32-5A-7, Ala. Code 1975, which governs operation of an emergency vehicle. That section allows an emergency-vehicle driver to "proceed past a red or stop signal or stop sign, but only after slowing down as may be necessary for safe operation; [or] exceed the maximum speed limits so long as he does not endanger life or property." There was evidence from a disinterested witness that the officer did not slow down as he ran the red light at the intersection and that although he had his emergency lights on, he was not using his siren. This testimony and the similar testimony by Kendrick that she did not hear the siren create a fact question on whether the officer and the City were entitled to immunity. The degree of damage to the vehicles also constituted evidence that, if the officer went through a red traffic light, he was exceeding a safe speed.
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