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Hartselle Enquirer

Sheriff subpoenaed to provide documents

Lauren Estes

Hartselle Enquirer

Morgan County Sheriff Ana Franklin was subpoenaed with an order to turn over requested documents in the case of negligence against her involving a Bay Minette elderly couple and traffic incident.

Franklin was involved in a traffic incident on June 7, 2016, in Baldwin County that left an elderly couple, Hubbard Hall, 64, and Martha Hall, 61, seriously injured. The documents in question that their attorney Britt Bethea is seeking are a list of interrogatories provided to Franklin. The couple is suing Franklin for negligence for an unknown amount of compensation based on their injuries, lost wages and damages to the vehicle.

According to the report, both Hubbard and Martha Hall were taken to the hospital by ambulance and Franklin was not injured after the incident. Martha has since not returned to work. She is a factory worker for a furniture company. According to their attorney, Martha was in a wheelchair for several months because of her injuries.

Sheriff Ana Franklin told the Enquirer that ‘she can’t comment on ongoing litigation except to say, “The attorneys in the case are working with the courts and the legal process that is available in civil cases. We will and have complied with all matters of the courts and all administrative policies related to this.”

When asked about attending the Jan. 31 order to appear subpoena she said, “I’m not sure about the 31 if it an actual appearance hearing. My attorneys are handling these motions. If I’m required to be there, of course I will attend.”

According to the affidavit signed on Jan 20 by Britt Bethea, the Hall’s attorney:

“This case arises from a clear-liability car wreck in which the defendant failed to yield the right of way to the Hall’s. Both Mr. and Mrs. Hall were severely injured in the wreck.

The complaint alleges at the time of the wreck, the defendant was not acting within the line and scope of her employment as the Sheriff of Morgan County. To the best of my knowledge, information and belief, there is good ground to support this allegation.

Since the suit was filed, the Hall’s have issued two non-party subpoenas and noticed four non-party subpoenas. The Hall’s have served requests for admissions, interrogatories and Request for Production on the defendant. The Halls have not yet received responses to any of those discovery requests. In fact, the defendant has not even answered the Complaint, but rather filed a pre-pleading motion to dismiss accompanied by an affidavit, which contained facts outside of the Complaint. Due to the infancy of this case, the Halls cannot currently present facts essential to justify their opposition to the Defendant’s Motion it dismiss. Undersigned counsel has spoken with counsel for the Defendant by phone and the Defendant does not object to such discovery.”

According to Franklin’s sworn affidavit, she was at he statewide TASRO conference that was being held in Gulf Shores.

“Several of my deputies and captain over that unit were in attendance from June 5- June 10, 2016, she said. “ I was scheduled to be at the conference to attend some of the events and meetings with them although I wasn’t scheduled to attend the training portion of the conference which is specifically designed for school resource deputies. Other Sheriffs attended, and I had planned to meet with them as well as my deputies and to attend some of the guest speaker portions of the event. 7. During the course of the week while in Gulf Shores, I communicated regularly with my office about the schedule, as well as, normal duty of the office and I was made aware of meetings and events that needed to be attended by me. I instructed my assistant to schedule these meetings throughout the week, and I would return early and attend to them as some of them were sensitive. The chief deputy had scheduled personal time off during that week and also unaware of the scheduling conflicts and I chose to return home to the office to attend to these matters.

I had to leave Gulf Shores early on June 7, 2016, to go back to Morgan County Alabama to attend meetings and interviews that had previously not been scheduled and be available for a circuit court subpoena that remained on the docket and unsettled. On the morning of June 7 while in rote to my office, I was involved in an automobile accident in Baldwin County. Further affiant says not.”

According to the case CV-2016-901046, the Defendant, Franklin and her attorney Randall McNeill, filed a motion to dismiss on Jan.12 stating she has immunity in this case.

“She was driving a Sheriff’s vehicle during her trip in Baldwin County for the conferences and returned early to handle business. These actions are within the line and scope of her duties…. Sheriff Franklin is entitled to absolute state immunity and the Plaintiff’s claims against her are due to be dismissed.”

According to the police report, Franklin’s county licensed Expedition was traveling northbound on AL-287 attempting to make a left turn into a private drive. The Hall’s vehicle was traveling southbound on AL-287.

“As the result of V1 (Franklin) failing to yield the right away while making a left turn, V1 (Franklin) struck V2 (Hall’s) in the middle of the roadway (southbound lane of travel). Franklin’s vehicle was pushed backwards because of the impact and came to final rest in the roadway. The Hall’s continued traveling a short distance before it came to an uncontrolled final rest in the roadway.”

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