Court Refuses to Issue Writ of Mandamus to Revive Untimely Summary Judgment Motion

As a general rule, the Alabama Supreme Court may review the denial of a motion for summary judgment when the basis for the motion is a claim of State-agent immunity.  Although the defendants based their summary judgment motion on State-agent immunity in this case, the Court refused to review the  denial of the motion because the trial court’s decision was based on the fact that the defendants filed the motion months after it was due under the court’s sceduling order.   Ex parte Sawyer & Finch, Nos. 1051249 & 1051304 (Ala. October 26, 2007).

The Alabama Supreme Court noted that it generally is willing to provide interlocutory review of State-agent immunity issues. “For many years, this Court has sought to ensure the availability of State-agent immunity to those entitled to protection from tort claims resulting from discretionary acts as agents of the state. In recent years, . . . we have opened the doors of this Court for the expedited review of any denial of a motion to dismiss when that motion was predicated on an assertion of State-agent immunity. An expedited review can be had by an interlocutory appeal or a writ of mandamus.” This opinion contains a various points of Alabama procedural law regarding State-agent immunity cases. Please review the opinion to learn more.