State Employees Immunity from Negligence
Qualified immunity bars only claims for a state employee's negligence in the performance of a discretionary function. Phillips v. Thomas, 555 So. 2d 81 (Ala. 1989); Barnes v. Dale, 530 So. 2d 770 (Ala. 1988); and DeStafney v. University of Alabama, 413 So. 2d 391 (Ala. 1981).
The individual defendants presently before us are not sued for negligence. They are sued only for intentional misconduct and willful fraud. the plaintiffs have voluntarily dismissed all other theories.
Qualified immunity cannot bar a claim for intentional misconduct or willful fraud. Phillips, supra; Barnes, supra; and Unzicker v. State, 346 So. 2d 931, 933 (Ala. 1977) (holding that the trial court erred by granting summary judgment grounded on immunity in favor of state employees sued on the theories that they "acted fraudulently, in bad faith, beyond their authority, or under a mistaken interpretation of the law").
The general rule in Alabama is that the appellate courts will not review a denial of a motion for summary judgment. Alabama Processing Co. v. Utilities Bd. of the Town of Citronelle, 527 So. 2d 690 (Ala. 1988);
Rule 54(b), Ala. R. Civ. P. the reasons for the rule are judicial economy and a balance of the conflicting interests of the opposing parties.
One exception to this rule is permissive appeal under Rule 5, Ala. R. App. P., not invoked in the case now before us.
The only other exception is that we will, on petition for writ of mandamus, review the validity of an assertion of immunity rejected by a trial court in denying a motion for summary judgment. Ex parte Davis, 721 So. 2d 685 (Ala. 1998); Ex parte Purvis, 689 So. 2d 794 (Ala. 1996).