Ex parte Amee Kozlovski, M.D.Annotate this Case
In November 2011, following a physical attack on his father, David Brown, Jeffery Brown was involuntarily committed by the Mobile Probate Court to Searcy Hospital, a long-termcare facility for mental illness operated by the Alabama Department of Mental Health. Brown was 19 years old at the time of his commitment and had a long history of mental illness and psychiatric hospitalizations. At Searcy Hospital Brown was assigned a "treatment team." Dr. Amee Kozlovski, a licensed physician and psychiatrist employed by the Alabama Department of Mental Health, was the head of Brown's treatment team and was responsible for making the ultimate judgment about whether Brown met the criteria for discharge from Searcy. During his time at Searcy Hospital, Brown had several incidents of self-injurious behavior but was otherwise fully compliant with his treatment. The treatment team reached a consensus that Brown had met the conditions for discharge. Despite reservations expressed by Brown's family that he would run away from a group-home facility, Brown was discharged a group home owned and operated by Altapointe Health Systems, Inc.
Dr. Kozlovski approved the discharge. Shortly after discharge, Brown left Safe Haven without the knowledge of Safe Haven's staff. Ten days later, Brown's body was found lying on a road in Mobile, apparently been struck and killed by a motorist. David Shamlin, as the court-appointed administrator of Brown's estate, initiated the underlying wrongful-death action, naming as defendants Dr. Kozlovski and Altapointe. The complaint alleged that Dr. Kozlovski had been negligent and/or wanton in numerous respects. Dr. Kozlovski filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the claims against her were barred by the doctrine of State-agent immunity. Based on the trial court record the Supreme Court concluded Dr. Kozlovski was entitled to State-agent immunity from the wrongful-death action asserted against her. Accordingly, she had shown a clear legal right to a writ of mandamus to direct the trial court to enter summary judgment in her favor.