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Mobile Partner Ben Heinz Successfully Asserts State Agent Immunity Defense


Mobile Partner Ben Heinz successfully asserted a state agent immunity defense in favor of a high school principal who was the subject of claims which were made as a result of an injury that a student suffered when a piece of playground equipment broke on the school grounds.


Subsequent to the failure of the equipment, it was first stored and later disposed of. Claims were made against the Principal for negligence and spoliation of evidence. Ben filed a Petition for Writ of Mandamus when the trial court denied a motion for summary judgment as to the spoliation claim. The basis for the motion was that the decisions concerning the storage and disposal of the equipment by the Principal were guided by her own judgment and discretion.


The Alabama Supreme Court agreed and ordered the trial court to enter summary judgment on the claims of spoliation. On remand, the trial court then also granted summary judgment on the negligence claim based upon the state agent immunity defense. An appeal of this order was unsuccessful, as the appellate court affirmed both summary judgments entered in favor of the Principal.


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