City of Gadsden, Alabama v. Boman et al.Annotate this Case
The City of Gadsden appealed an order of injunctive relief in favor of John Boman, a retired Gadsden police officer. Boman and 18 other active and retired Gadsden police officers sued Gadsden alleging, among other things, that they had "been deprived of Social Security and Medicare protection which other police officers have been provided" and that, after 20 years of service, they were being required to pay a higher pension charge or percentage of base pay than their counterparts who were hired after April 1, 1986. Boman filed a "motion for immediate relief for medical care." He alleged that when he was hired, Gadsden "provided police and firemen a 20 year retirement program whereby police and firemen would receive 50% retirement benefits after 20 years of service and lifetime medical care." He averred that Gadsden had "breached its contract with [him] to provide continuing medical insurance," and he requested "immediate relief by ordering [Gadsden] to pay for [his] medical care or in the alternative ordering [Gadsden] to pay for Medicare coverage for ... Boman so he will have continuing medical insurance as agreed by the Board filed a motion to dismiss
the action as to it and the plan. As to it, the Board alleged that it was an agency of the State and, therefore, was entitled to absolute immunity from suit. Also, according to the Board, the plan is not a legal entity subject to suit, but "merely a program administered by the Board to provide insurance." It also averred that, "[e]ven if [the plan] were an entity subject to suit, it would be immune for the same reasons [the] Board is immune." Boman's response to the Board's motion failed to acknowledge or mention the immunity question. The trial court, without conducting an evidentiary hearing, entered an "order granting motion for emergency relief." It ultimately dismissed the claims against the Board and the plan. Gadsden appealed. Upon review, the Supreme Court reversed based on the failure to join the officials of the Board, in their official capacities, as necessary parties. On remand, the trial court was directed to entertain an amendment to the complaint adding claims against those officials of the Board who are charged with administering the plan, in their official capacities.