ATLANTA — The Georgia Court of Appeals has upheld a Dougherty Superior Court decision that former Albany City Manager Alfred Lott was immune from a 2007 lawsuit filed by former city finance director Shirley A. Smith.
“In her complaint, Smith asserted claims for defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and tortuous interference with business/employment opportunities,” the Appeals Court said. “Lott moved for summary judgment, and the trial court granted it, finding that suit against Lott was barred by his official immunity.”
Smith appealed the decision by Superior Court Judge Denise Marshall, saying Lott was not immune from the civil action because “some statements with “actual malice” and some statements while he was not acting within the scope of his duties.”
“We see no merit to these claims, and we affirm,” the Appeal Court said.
In affirming Marshall’s decision, the Appeal Court stated: “The trial court properly determined that Lott was entitled to summary judgment based on his official immunity from liability as to all of Smith’s claims for defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and tortuous interference with business/employment opportunities.”
City Attorney Nathan Davis said the city was pleased with the ruling from the court of appeals.
“We’re pleased that the Court of Appeals affirmed what we believed was the right decision by the Superior Court,” Davis said. “We’re hopeful that this will bring the matter to an end.”
Smith contended that Lott acted outside the scope of his role as city manager when he faxed copies of negative personnel records and reviews to a hiring manager in Orlando where she was attempting to get a job after leaving Albany.