Collier's attorney: Gov. Bentley's 'Sovereign immunity' does not apply

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Former Alabama Law Enforcement Agency Secretary Spencer Collier's wrongful termination case against his former boss, Gov. Robert Bentley, faces the possibility of dismissal because of 'Sovereign immunity'.

Gov. Bentley has moved to dismiss the wrongful termination case brought against him, as well as legal discovery, using the part of the law which protects the state and state officials from being sued.

However, according to Collier's attorney, Kenneth Mendelsohn, Sovereign immunity does not apply in this case because they are suing Robert Bentley, not in his capacity as a governor, but as a person. It is a small - but distinctive - part of the case.

"His actions here were to hurt Spencer Collier," Mendelsohn said of Bentley, who terminated Collier on March 22 while the ALEA Secretary was on forced medical leave. Bentley terminated Collier after claiming a review found a number of issues, including a possible misuse of state funds.

Collier and Mendelsohn claim the real reason for the termination is payback for Collier refusing to lie about an investigation centered on then-House Speaker Mike Hubbard, who was later convicted of felony ethics violations and removed from office.

"He [Bentley] made that decision based off his own personal beliefs, not for the good of the state, not for the state of Alabama…not for the people of Alabama. He was making these decisions because he was mad at Spencer Collier," Mendelsohn stated.

Mendelsohn argues that making it personal eliminates the protection of Sovereign immunity, though the governor's office disagrees.

In a statement released Friday, the governor's office said:

“The entire reason the Constitution creates Sovereign immunity is to prevent people from using lawsuits to distract elected officials from their duties. Consistent with what the Constitution says, the Governor's focus is on serving the people of Alabama, not on responding to discovery requests in meritless lawsuits.”

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