State-Agent Immunity - Elementary Education


Moore v. Tyson and Douthit, [Ms. 1190547, Feb. 19, 2021], ___ So. 3d ___ (Ala. 2021). The Court (Stewart, J.; Parker, C.J., and Bolin, Wise, and Sellers, JJ., concur) affirms the Madison Circuit Court’s summary-judgment order dismissing on immunity grounds negligence and wantonness claims against Tyson, an elementary school teacher, and Douthit, the principal. The minor plaintiff was injured when another student caused her to fall in the classroom and strike her head. Ms. *2. Tyson had left the students in her class unattended while she went to the restroom. Ibid.

The Court first holds that “the claims asserted against Tyson and Douthit in their official capacities are barred by Article I, §14.” Ms. *23, citing Ex parte Montgomery County Board of Education, 88 So. 3d 837 (Ala. 2012).

The Court affirms the summary judgment for Tyson based on state-agent immunity and explains “[t]here is no detailed rule or regulation that prohibited Tyson from leaving the students in her classroom unattended in order to use the restroom. The statements from the policy manual and the SafeSchools videos submitted by the Moores are ‘general statements’ and ‘are not the type of detailed rules or regulations that would remove [Tyson’s] judgment in the performance of required acts.’” Ms. **18-19, quoting Ex parte Spivey, 846 So. 2d 322, 333 (Ala. 2002).

The Court also affirms the dismissal of Douthit because “the Moores do not support their assertions that Douthit is not entitled to State-agent immunity with sufficient authority or argument....” Ms. *21.

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