Ex parte Trawick

959 So. 2d 51 (2006)

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Ex parte Trawick

Alabama Supreme Court
959 So. 2d 51 (2006)

  • Written by Tammy Boggs, JD

Facts

In late 1999, James and Emma Anderson obtained a license to operate a childcare facility from the state department of human resources (department) (defendant). The department’s employee Rosemary Trawick (defendant) was responsible for determining the eligibility and propriety of the Andersons’ licensure. The Andersons began operating a daycare facility called Miss Emma’s (Emma’s). Thereafter, Mary B. filed a complaint with the department alleging that Mary’s granddaughter was enrolled at Emma’s and had been sexually molested by James. At some point before mid-2000, Fred and Rhonda V. (plaintiffs) were researching daycare facilities for their child and contacted the department about Emma’s. Rhonda spoke to Trawick and asked if Emma’s was licensed and if any complaints had been made against the facility’s employees. Trawick responded that Emma’s was licensed, that there had been no filed complaints, and that there were no reports of anything improper. Trawick was aware of Mary’s complaint against James but seemed to believe that the complaint was confidential. Fred and Rhonda enrolled their child at Emma’s. In 2002, the department renewed the Andersons’ license. Subsequently, James was arrested and charged with sexually abusing Fred and Rhonda’s child as well as Mary’s granddaughter. Fred and Rhonda sued various parties, including Trawick in both her official and individual capacities, based on failing to adequately warn Rhonda about James and negligently licensing the facility. Trawick filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that she was immune from liability as a state agent. The trial court denied Trawick’s motion. The Alabama Supreme Court agreed to review Trawick’s petition for writ of mandamus. In her brief, Trawick conceded that she had been permitted to disclose a complaint of child abuse to Rhonda.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Harwood, J.)

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