Ex parte City of Tuskegee.Annotate this Case
The City of Tuskegee ("the City") petitioned the Alabama Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus to direct the trial court to vacate its order denying the City's motion for a summary judgment as to negligent inspection and negligent failure to provide hydrant and/or water pressure claims asserted against it, and to enter a summary judgment for the City as to those claims on the grounds of both substantive immunity and municipal immunity under 11-47-190, Ala. Code 1975. This case arose from the 2012 death of Yvonne Redd ("Yvonne") in a house fire that occurred at a Tuskegee residence. Significant among the allegations brought against the City was that the City’s safety inspector negligently inspected the rental home Yvonne had lived in, particularly with regard to the lack of hard-wired smoke detectors in Yvonne’s rented unit; and negligent inspection of fire hydrants closest to Yvonne’s residence. In its motion for a summary judgment, the City presented evidence: (1) indicating that TFD tested the hydrants in the City annually; (2) when TFD arrived on the scene, the tanks on Engine 1 and Engine 2 were both full of water; (3) the firefighters did not experience any problems with water pressure until the Macedonia fire department hooked its hose up to a hydrant south of the residence; (4) when Macedonia firefighters hooked up to that hydrant, they caused a "water hammer" that blew up the water main that supplied the fire hydrants, which caused a decrease in water pressure; and (5) fire trucks from the Shorter Fire Department and the VA Fire Department resupplied Engine 2 with water and that TFD was able to continuously fight the fire, even after the water-hammer issue. Based on this evidence, the Alabama Supreme Court concluded the City was entitled to substantive immunity from the negligent-inspection claims. The Court thus granted the City’s application and issue the writ.