MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Despite being forced to resign as Alabama's governor Monday, Robert Bentley got a bit of positive news the following day. A judge granted his motion to be dismissed from a lawsuit filed by his former bodyguard, Ray Lewis.
Lewis sued Bentley and his former top aide, Rebekah Mason, arguing then-Gov. Bentley's alleged affair with Mason complicated his professional role and ultimately forced him to take early retirement. His suit claimed that after retiring from his state job, his employment was sought by the University of Alabama and Alabama Power.
Lewis, a single father of three, believed Bentley and Mason interfered in those job opportunities which "immediately disappeared" after he said he was asked and confirmed he would tell the truth in any possible testimony against the defendants.
Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Truman Hobbs determined Lewis' suit against Bentley could not move forward because Bentley is "immune from tort liability". Hobbs said Lewis' suit "affirmatively states that he [Bentley] was acting within the line and scope of his authority" as governor.
Hobbs dismissed all six counts in the suit against Bentley, though the last count can move forward against other defendants, including Mason.
The first three counts involved invasion of privacy, defamation, and intentional interference with business and contractual relations. Hobbs dropped them because they were time-barred.
The fourth count was for constructive discharge, which the judge said could not move forward because there is no action a court can take outside a wrongful discharge claim under worker's compensation laws.
Because the sixth count - intentional interference with business or contractual relations - was the only remaining count, Hobbs dismissed count five - negligent, wanton, reckless and/or intentional misconduct - for being "superfluous".
Mason also won a partial stay against Lewis' suit, though discovery will be allowed to move forward against her, her company RCM Communications, Inc.; The Alabama Council for Excellent Government, a non-profit organization created to support Bentley's public policy priorities; and Bentley for Governor, Inc.
However, Mason cannot be forced to sit for a deposition at this time, Hobbs ruled, and she can petition the court for relief is she feels any discovery request "impinges unduly on her right not to testify".
Here's a copy of Lewis' lawsuit: