Montgomery Circuit Court, CV-18-900026
PETITION FOR WRIT OF MANDAMUS
Montgomery County Board of Education ("the Board")
petitions this Court for a writ of mandamus directing the
Montgomery Circuit Court to dismiss a lawsuit filed against
it on the basis of sovereign immunity. We grant the petition
and issue the writ.
Facts and Procedural History
January 7, 2018, John Doe, a minor, by and through his mother
S.C., filed the underlying action in the Montgomery Circuit
Court against the Board, seeking compensatory damages and
punitive damages arising from an alleged assault on Doe by a
school employee at the elementary school Doe attended, as a
result of which Doe was injured. The complaint asserts a
single count of negligence against the Board and other
unidentified fictitiously named defendants. Specifically, Doe
alleges that the Board breached its duty "to not place
him in harm or specifically harm him" and that the Board
failed to properly train and supervise the employee allegedly
responsible for the assault.
February 27, 2018, the Board moved to dismiss the action on
the ground that the Board is a State agency entitled to State
immunity under the provisions of Art. I, § 14, Ala.
Const. 1901. The trial court denied the motion, and the Board
filed this petition.
Standard of Review
"'"It is well established that mandamus will
lie to compel a dismissal of [a] claim that is barred by
the doctrine of sovereign immunity." Ex parte
Blankenship, 893 So.2d 303, 305 (Ala. 2004).
"'"A writ of mandamus is a
"'"'drastic and extraordinary writ that
will be issued only when there is: 1) a clear legal right in
the petitioner to the order sought; 2) an imperative duty
upon the respondent to perform, accompanied by a refusal to
do so; 3) the lack of another adequate remedy; and 4)
properly invoked jurisdiction of the court.'"
"'Ex parte Wood, 852 So.2d 705, 708 (Ala.
2002) (quoting Ex parte United Serv. Stations, Inc.,
628 So.2d 501, 503 (Ala. 1993)).
"'"'[I]f an action is an action against
the State within the meaning of § 14, such a case
"presents a question of subject-matter jurisdiction,
which cannot be waived or conferred by consent."'
Haley v. Barbour County, 885 So.2d 783, 788 (Ala.
2004) (quoting Patterson v. Gladwin Corp., 835
So.2d 137, 142-43 (Ala. 2002)).'Therefore, a
court's failure to dismiss a case for lack of
subject-matter jurisdiction based on sovereign immunity may
properly be addressed by a petition for the writ of
mandamus.' Ex parte Alabama Dep't of Mental
Health & Retardation, 837 So.2d 808, 810-11 (Ala.
"'Ex parte Davis, 930 So.2d 497, 499-500
(Ala. 2005).'" Ex parte Phenix City Bd. of
Educ., 67 So.3d 56, 59 (Ala. 2011) (quoting Ex parte
Lawley, 38 ...