Morrow v. CaldwellAnnotate this Case
Wayne Morrow filed a permissive appeal to the Circuit Court's order denying his request for a judgment declaring that the $100,000 cap on damages in section 11-47-190, Ala. Code 1975, applied to Morrow, a municipal employee who was sued in his individual capacity. In 2009, Alice Yu sought to have Alabama Power Company restore electrical service in her name at a commercial building she was leasing. The premises had been without power for approximately eight months. The City of Montgomery sent Morrow to perform an electrical inspection of the premises and clear the premises for service before electrical service was restored. Keandarick Russell, a minor, was staying with his great-grandmother, who lived next door to the premises. Russell was playing on the concrete pad on which the air-conditioning system was located and was electrocuted when he came in contact with a chain-link fence adjacent to the premises. When the incident occurred, wires from an uncovered junction box at the electrical source had come in contact with a portion of the fence, and, as a result, the fence had become electrified. Russell was electrocuted when he touched the fence. Shameka Caldwell, as Russell's mother and next friend, filed a wrongful-death action against multiple defendants, including Morrow and Yu for two fictitiously named defendants. In the amended complaint, Caldwell alleged that
Morrow had negligently, recklessly, and/or wantonly inspected the premises and had negligently, recklessly, and/or wantonly allowed electrical service to be restored to the premises. In his answer, Morrow asserted that he was entitled to State immunity, to State-agent immunity, and to qualified immunity. Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded the plain language of 11-47-190 did not limit the recovery on a claim against a municipal employee in his or her individual capacity, the $100,000 statutory cap on recovery would not apply to Caldwell's claims against Morrow. Therefore, the trial court properly denied Morrow's request for a judgment declaring that it would.