In re: Whatley v. HigginbothamAnnotate this Case
Two police officers and the City of Birmingham petitioned for a writ of mandamus to direct the circuit court to vacate its judgment denying the petitioners' motion for a summary judgment and to enter a judgment in their favor based on State-agent immunity. Officers with the Birmingham Police Department (BPD) responded to a vehicle fire, as did James Higginbotham, a firefighter employed by the Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service (BFRS). The officers sustained injuries as a result of an accident between the first responders. The injured officers sued Higginbotham, the City, and several fictitiously named defendants, asserting claims of negligence and wantonness against Higginbotham and vicarious liability against the City. After review, the Supreme Court concluded that the petitioners demonstrated a clear legal right to a summary judgment based on State-agent immunity. Therefore, the Court granted the petition and issue the writ directing the circuit court to enter a summary judgment for one of the officers and for the City as to its liability based on the claims against that officer.