State-Agent Immunity - Actions of Municipal Police Officers - § 6-5-338(a) - Ex Parte City of Selma


Ex parte City of Selma, [Ms. 1160469, Sept. 1, 2017] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2017). In a decision by Justice Wise, (Stuart, C.J., and Bolin, Parker, Shaw, Main, Bryan, and Sellers, JJ., concur, and Murdock, J., concurs in the result), the Court grants the City of Selma’s petition for writ of mandamus dismissing an action against it on the grounds of state-agent immunity. The plaintiff called Selma officers to his home when he discovered his vehicle was being repossessed. When the officers responded to the scene and looked at the plaintiff’s loan paperwork, they advised the party conducting the repossession to take the vehicle and instructed the plaintiff to remove his personal belongings from the vehicle.

On these facts, the Court held that the City of Selma was due summary judgment based upon state-agent immunity:

It is undisputed that Officers Fank and Calhoun are “peace officers” for purposes of § 6-5-338(a) and that their alleged misconduct occurred while they were performing a discretionary law-enforcement function – i.e., preventing a breach of the peace. Therefore, based on Ex parte Cranman, as modified by Hollis v. City of Brighton, 950 So. 2d 300 (Ala. 2006), the City satisfied its burden of establishing that the officers would be entitled to State-agent immunity.

Ms. *11.

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