Campbell v. Sims

Decision Date28 June 1996
Citation686 So.2d 1227
PartiesTammy CAMPBELL v. Danny SIMS and City of Guntersville. 2950226.
CourtAlabama Court of Civil Appeals

L. Dale Fuller, Boaz, for Appellant.

George W. Royer, Jr., of Sirote & Permutt, P.C., Huntsville, for Appellees.


This case involves the dismissal of an action pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), A.R.Civ.P. The case was transferred to this court by our Supreme Court pursuant to Ala.Code 1975, § 12-2-7.

In May 1995, Tammy Campbell filed a complaint against Danny Sims, individually and in his official capacity as a police officer for the City of Guntersville (City), and against the City. Campbell's complaint contained several allegations, including false arrest, false imprisonment, assault and battery, and an unlawful search in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Campbell sought compensatory and punitive damages, and demanded a jury trial.

The action was removed to a federal district court in June 1995, wherein some claims were dismissed and the action was remanded to circuit court for a determination of Campbell's state law claims. In August 1995, Sims and the City filed motions to dismiss, asserting, inter alia, that Campbell's complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. Further, Sims and the City asserted certain defenses, including several types of immunity. Additionally, the City contended that it had no liability for intentional state law claims brought against Sims, citing Ala.Code 1975, § 11-47-190. Thereafter, the trial court granted Sims and the City's motions to dismiss, and Campbell appeals.

In her complaint, Campbell alleged that in the early morning hours of November 18, 1993, while she was driving her car in a parking lot, Sims pulled his police vehicle into a position behind her car, preventing her departure. She alleged that Sims ordered her to exit her car, and that when she attempted to explain, Sims told her "not to say anything." She alleged that he then proceeded to search her, her car, and her purse, without her permission or probable cause, and that she jerked her purse from Sims and tossed it back into her car. Campbell alleged that after she objected to the search, she requested to see a search warrant and requested the right to contact her lawyer. She alleged that Sims grabbed her by the wrist and jerked both of her arms above her head, handcuffed her, and placed her in the rear seat of the police vehicle before he continued to search her car. She alleged that the only explanation that Sims provided was "suspicious vehicle." She further alleged that after Sims released her from his vehicle, he ordered her to leave her car parked and arrange for other transportation home. Campbell contends that her car did not contain contraband before, during, or after Sims's search.

The standard of review for a ruling on a motion to dismiss is well established. A motion pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), A.R.Civ.P., " 'should seldom be granted and should only be granted when "it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." ' " Williams v. Kasal, 429 So.2d 1008, 1009 (Ala.1983). (Citations omitted.) Simply stated, "if under a provable set of facts, upon any cognizable theory of law, a complaint states a claim upon which relief could be granted, the complaint should not be dismissed." Patton v. Black, 646 So.2d 8, 10 (Ala.1994). Further, the allegations contained in the complaint must be examined and construed so as to resolve all doubts concerning the sufficiency of the complaint in favor of Campbell. Patton, 646 So.2d 8; see also, Ex parte City of Birmingham, 624 So.2d 1018 (Ala.1993).

Public officials and employees are immune from liability when performing functions that involve a degree of discretion while acting within the general scope of their authority. See Woods v. Wilson, 539 So.2d 224 (Ala.1989); see also Restatement (Second) of Torts, § 895D (1979). It is often difficult to ascertain when a public officer is performing a...

To continue reading

Request your trial
2 cases
  • Byther ex rel. Byther v. City of Mobile
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of Alabama
    • November 9, 2005
    ...are considered. See e.g. Hawkins v. City of Greenville, 101 F.Supp.2d 1356, 1365 (M.D.Ala.2000)(motion to dismiss); Campbell v. Sims, 686 So.2d 1227, 1229 (Ala.Civ.App.1996) (motion to dismiss); Franklin v. City of Huntsville, 670 So.2d 848, 852 (Ala.1995)(motion to dismiss); Borders v. Cit......
  • Avery v. Davis
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Eleventh Circuit
    • July 6, 2017 necessary to effectuate the arrest"); Franklin v. City of Huntsville, 670 So. 2d 848, 852 (Ala. 1995) (same); Campbell v. Sims, 686 So. 2d 1227, 1329 (Ala. Civ. App. 1996) (same). Theyhave never held that it provides immunity from suit. See, e.g., Walker, 62 So. 3d at 494. As a result, w......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT