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Statutory Immunity Under Alabama's Adult Protective Services Act § 38-9-11, Ala. Code 1975

Streip v. Smith, [Ms. 1180834, Sept. 4, 2020] ___ So. 3d ___ (Ala. 2020). The Court (Shaw, J.; Parker, C.J., and Bolin, Wise, Bryan, Sellers, Mendheim, and Stewart, JJ., concur; Mitchell, J., concurs specially) grants a petition for a writ of mandamus and directs the Jefferson Circuit Court to vacate an order denying motions for summary judgment in a wrongful death action filed against officers and employees of the Calhoun County Department of Human Resources involved with the placement of an impaired adult in a licensed boarding home setting which was alleged to be the proximate cause of her subsequent death. Finding that the DHR defendants had acted in conformance with the DHR Adult Policy Services Manual in making their placement determination, the Court concludes they are each entitled to statutory immunity under § 38-9-11, Ala. Code 1975, a provision of the Alabama Adult Protective Services Act, which states “Any officer, agent, or employee of the department, in the good faith exercise of his duties under this chapter, shall not be liable for any civil damages as a result of his acts or omissions in rendering assistance or care to any person.” Concluding that plaintiff failed to present substantial evidence that the DHR defendants’ determinations were not made in good faith, the defendants were entitled to statutory immunity under the plain and unambiguous language of the statute.

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