Peace-Officer Immunity § 6-5-640, Ala. Code 1975 & State-Agent Immunity - Ex Parte City of Homewood


Ex parte City of Homewood, [Ms. 1151310, Mar. 24, 2017] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2017). The Court unanimously grants a petition for a writ of mandamus seeking an order directing the Jefferson Circuit Court to enter summary judgment in favor of two Homewood police officers alleged to have acted wantonly during a high-speed vehicular pursuit of an alleged shoplifter who lost control of her vehicle causing the plaintiff’s injuries. Citing Reeves v. Porter, 521 So. 2d 963 (Ala. 1988), the Court reiterates that a summary judgment may properly be granted when discovery requests remain outstanding unless the non-movant, through submission of an affidavit in compliance with Rule 56(f), Ala. R. Civ. P., demonstrates that the discovery responses are crucial to his/her case. Ms. *17-18. “However, when no such crucial evidence would be supplied by the production or by the answers to the interrogatories, it is not error for the trial court to grant summary judgment with discovery pending.” Ms. *18, quoting Reeves v. Porter, 521 So. 2d at 965.

In this case, a dashboard video recording of the chase demonstrated that the officers were exercising due care in the operation of their vehicles and never came in contact with the shoplifter’s vehicle before she lost control and caused the injuries complained of. This evidence showed that the officers were engaged in conduct that qualified for immunity and that their conduct was not the proximate cause of the plaintiff’s injuries. Thus, the trial court erred in denying their motions for summary judgment based upon immunity.

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