Scott Bridge Co. v. Wright

CourtSupreme Court of Alabama
Writing for the CourtLYONS, Justice.
Citation883 So.2d 1221
PartiesSCOTT BRIDGE COMPANY v. Michael WRIGHT.
Decision Date19 December 2003

883 So.2d 1221

SCOTT BRIDGE COMPANY
v.
Michael WRIGHT

1021705.

Supreme Court of Alabama.

December 19, 2003.


883 So.2d 1222
Arnold W. Umbach III and Colin R. Stockton of Bradley Arant Rose & White, LLP, Birmingham; and Stanley A. Martin, Opelika, for appellant

Clay Hornsby of Morris, Haynes & Hornsby, Birmingham, for appellee.

LYONS, Justice.

Scott Bridge Company appeals, pursuant to Rule 5, Ala. R.App. P., from the trial court's order denying its motion for a summary judgment in a retaliatory-discharge action filed against it by Michael Wright. We reverse the trial court's order and render a judgment for Scott Bridge Company.

I. Facts and Procedural History

Scott Bridge Company hired Michael Wright on June 26, 1997, as a carpenter on a bridge-construction project in Georgia. When he was hired, Wright was a resident of Georgia. Wright claims that he suffered an on-the-job injury on March 18, 1998, while working on a bridge project in Augusta, Georgia. On or about September 28, 1998, Wright filed a claim for benefits with the Georgia State Board of Workers' Compensation. Wright never sought benefits under the Alabama Workers' Compensation Act. In October 1998, Scott Bridge assigned Wright to work at its office in Opelika, where he remained employed until he was discharged on April 21, 2000.

Wright sued Scott Bridge in the Chambers Circuit Court on April 19, 2002, alleging that he was discharged in retaliation for having filed a claim for workers' compensation benefits. The action was transferred to the Lee Circuit Court. Scott Bridge filed a motion for a summary judgment on the ground that the prohibition set forth in § 25-5-11.1, Ala.Code 1975, against terminating an employee solely because the employee has filed a workers' compensation claim does not apply to employees asserting claims under the workers' compensation laws of any other state. The trial court denied the motion, citing the existence of genuine issues as to material fact.

883 So.2d 1223
Scott Bridge then filed a motion asking the trial court to alter or amend the order, or, in the alternative, to certify the order for permissive appeal pursuant to Rule 5, Ala. R.App. P. The trial court entered an order stating that the case involved
"a controlling question of law as to which there is a substantial ground for difference of opinion, specifically whether Ala.Code § 25-5-11.1 recognizes a claim for retaliatory discharge where the plaintiff never sought workers' compensation benefits in Alabama, but rather sought workers' compensation benefits in Georgia pursuant to an injury occurring when the plaintiff worked and lived in Georgia."

The trial court then amended that order, finding expressly that "Plaintiff never sought workers' compensation benefits in Alabama, but claims only that he sought workers' compensation benefits in Georgia." Continuing, the trial court observed that "Alabama law may recognize a claim for retaliatory discharge, pursuant to Ala. Code § 25-5-11.1, based on the facts alleged by Plaintiff." Scott Bridge then filed with this Court a petition for permission to appeal pursuant to Rule 5, Ala. R.App. P. We granted the petition.

II. Standard of Review

This Court reviews de novo a trial court's interpretation of a statute, because only a question of law is presented. Simcala, Inc. v. American Coal Trade, Inc., 821 So.2d 197, 200 (Ala.2001).

III. The Scope of the Remedy

This Court has repeatedly embraced the rule that an employee at will may be discharged for any reason, including a "wrong" reason, or for no reason. For a recent example of our...

To continue reading

Request your trial
55 practice notes
  • Easterling v. Progressive Specialty Ins. Co., 1150833
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • September 15, 2017
    ...of law is presented.’ " State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Bennett, 974 So.2d 959, 961 (Ala. 2007) (quoting Scott Bridge Co. v. Wright, 883 So.2d 1221, 1223 (Ala. 2003) ).Discussion The issue presented is whether the bankruptcy discharge of a UIM defendant prevents an injured plaintiff from ......
  • Perdue v. Green, 1101337 and 1101506.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • April 19, 2013
    ...reviews de novo a trial court's interpretation of a statute, because only a question of law is presented.” Scott Bridge Co. v. Wright, 883 So.2d 1221, 1223 (Ala.2003)....’ “Continental Nat'l Indem. Co. v. Fields, 926 So.2d 1033, 1034–35 (Ala.2005). Likewise, “ ‘ “[o]ur review of constitutio......
  • State v. City of Birmingham, 1180342
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • November 27, 2019
    ...reviews de novo a trial court's interpretation of a statute, because only a question of law is presented.’ Scott Bridge Co. v. Wright, 883 So. 2d 1221, 1223 (Ala. 2003). Where, as here, the facts of a case are essentially undisputed, this Court must determine whether the trial court misappl......
  • Burnett v. Chilton Cnty. Health Care Auth., 1160958
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • August 31, 2018
    ...County v. Richards, 805 So.2d 690 (Ala. 2001)." Richards v. Izzi, 819 So.2d 25, 29 n.3 (Ala. 2001). See also Scott Bridge Co. v. Wright, 883 So.2d 1221, 1223 (Ala. 2003) ("This Court reviews de novo a trial court's interpretation of a statute, because only a question of law is presented.").......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
55 cases
  • Easterling v. Progressive Specialty Ins. Co., 1150833
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • September 15, 2017
    ...of law is presented.’ " State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Bennett, 974 So.2d 959, 961 (Ala. 2007) (quoting Scott Bridge Co. v. Wright, 883 So.2d 1221, 1223 (Ala. 2003) ).Discussion The issue presented is whether the bankruptcy discharge of a UIM defendant prevents an injured plaintiff from ......
  • Perdue v. Green, 1101337 and 1101506.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • April 19, 2013
    ...reviews de novo a trial court's interpretation of a statute, because only a question of law is presented.” Scott Bridge Co. v. Wright, 883 So.2d 1221, 1223 (Ala.2003)....’ “Continental Nat'l Indem. Co. v. Fields, 926 So.2d 1033, 1034–35 (Ala.2005). Likewise, “ ‘ “[o]ur review of constitutio......
  • State v. City of Birmingham, 1180342
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • November 27, 2019
    ...reviews de novo a trial court's interpretation of a statute, because only a question of law is presented.’ Scott Bridge Co. v. Wright, 883 So. 2d 1221, 1223 (Ala. 2003). Where, as here, the facts of a case are essentially undisputed, this Court must determine whether the trial court misappl......
  • Burnett v. Chilton Cnty. Health Care Auth., 1160958
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Alabama
    • August 31, 2018
    ...County v. Richards, 805 So.2d 690 (Ala. 2001)." Richards v. Izzi, 819 So.2d 25, 29 n.3 (Ala. 2001). See also Scott Bridge Co. v. Wright, 883 So.2d 1221, 1223 (Ala. 2003) ("This Court reviews de novo a trial court's interpretation of a statute, because only a question of law is presented.").......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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