December 21, 2016

Terry Sides successfully defended a Jefferson County city and its police chief in a wrongful death and civil rights case in federal court.

The plaintiff’s son encountered a driver’s license checkpoint being conducted by the city’s police officers. When one of the officers asked for identification, the son produced a questionable ID card that could not be confirmed through multiple law enforcement sources. The officer asked the son to get out of the car and performed a “pat down” search of him. The son was then detained (but not handcuffed) in the backseat of the officer’s patrol car while the officer continued to try to confirm his identity. A short while later, the son jumped out of the patrol car, assaulted the officer, and tried to take the officer’s gun from its holster. Unable to get the gun, the son fled into the nearby woods. The officer chased the son and caught him, at which time the son continued to fight the officer and again attempted to take away the officer’s gun. Fearing...

December 8, 2016

On behalf of two Alabama cities as “friends of the court,” Terry Sides is participating in a pivotal case about municipal and recreational land use immunities.

The case concerns an accident which occurred at a recreational park owned by a city in North Alabama. The accident occurred when the plaintiff was returning to her car after dark following a fireworks show and tripped and fell over a diagonal crossbar supporting a metal post which had previously held a metal cable separating the parking area from the rest of the park. The plaintiff contends the area where she fell constitutes an exception to Alabama’s recreational land use statutes because it was a “hidden danger.” Those statutes define and limit the duties of an owner of recreational land to a person using the land for recreational purposes, and they essentially provide that an owner of such land owes no duty to its users except for injury caused by a “willful or malicious” failure to guard or warn against a known dangerous cond...

November 18, 2016

Terry Sides successfully defended an Alabama city in a lawsuit in federal and state court in which the plaintiff claimed that her federal and state constitutional rights were violated by some of the city's police officers because of her arrest for domestic violence. The officers responded to a call from the plaintiff that she had been assaulted by her husband, but the officers' investigation on the scene (including interviews of eyewitnesses) revealed that it was the plaintiff, not her husband, who was the abuser. When the officers advised the plaintiff she was under arrest, she became combative, refused to follow the officers' commands, and physically resisted her arrest. The federal court ruled the plaintiff failed to state a federal claim for relief against the city, and the state court subsequently ruled that the plaintiff likewise had no claim against the city under Alabama law. The lawsuit was dismissed.

November 9, 2016

A federal court dismissed a lawsuit against an Alabama city in which the plaintiff claimed that the city had violated his constitutional rights by failing to properly train and supervise its police officers in making arrests, conducting searches and seizures, using force while making arrests, and providing medical care to arrestees. Two of the city’s police officers made a traffic stop of the plaintiff for his failure to obey a traffic signal and because the plaintiff’s vehicle matched that of a vehicle involved in a recent attempted armed robbery. During the traffic stop, the plaintiff, after repeated commands by the officers to show his hands, hid one hand from the officers and used his other hand to toss away bags of heroin and marijuana. To gain control of the plaintiff and stop his destruction of the evidence, one of the officers tased the plaintiff, following which the plaintiff physically resisted his arrest. After the officers effectuated the arrest, the plaintiff was transport...

August 12, 2016

Hale Sides LLC is pleased to announce its recent joint venture with Hill, Hill & Gossett, P.C. The two firms have combined forces to provide full service legal representation in real estate law, loan closings and foreclosures. While both firms will continue to work independently, the joint venture, Hale Sides Hill Gossett LLC (“HSHG”), combines 165 years of experience and fortifies the two firms’ reputations for excellence as a new and innovative choice for representation in all legal matters involving real estate companies, brokers and agents, banks, financial institutions and other lenders, mortgage companies and servicers, title companies, and individuals in the greater Birmingham metropolitan area and surrounding counties. Learn more about HSHG and its real estate services by visiting

April 14, 2016

The Firm successfully defended a constitutional attack on an Alabama statute which mandates that the recovery of damages against public transportation authorities be limited to $100,000.00 for bodily injury or death.

The plaintiff (who claimed to be the victim of a sexual assault by an employee of an Alabama transit authority) argued (1) that the Alabama Legislature lacked the power to enact a statute providing for such immunity for public transportation authorities, and (2) that the subject statute and damages limitation in it violated her constitutional rights to trial by jury, access to the courts, and due process of law.

The court disagreed. In a well-reasoned and lengthy opinion, the court concluded that the statute is a valid exercise of the Legislature’s authority and that the plaintiff failed to prove that the limitation on the recovery of damages against a public transportation authority is unconstitutional. Terry Sides handled the case for the Firm.

October 7, 2015

The Firm won summary judgment for two Alabama police officers in a lawsuit against them arising from their arrest of a drunk driver. Discovery revealed that from the onset of the arrest, the plaintiff was angry, abusive, and threatening toward the officers. The plaintiff continued to misbehave and confront the officers after arriving at the city jail for a sobriety test.

When the plaintiff attempted to assault and spit on the officers, one of them pushed him to the floor to avoid the assault. The second officer assisted in subduing the plaintiff. The plaintiff was then transported to the county jail, during which he continued his verbal assault on the first officer, threatening him and his family and repeatedly kicking the rear door and window of the car to escape. After pleading guilty to driving drunk, the plaintiff sued the police officers for excessive force, claiming mental and emotional injuries, as well as aggravation of a prior on-the-job injury to his neck and left arm.

After ex...

August 8, 2015

The Firm obtained summary judgment for an Alabama city on claims by one of its former police officers for disability discrimination, age discrimination, and retaliation. The city fired the officer for multiple violations of its rules and policies stemming from (a) inappropriate and suggestive text messages which the officer sent to a female teenager he met at a restaurant, as well as (b) a subsequent traffic stop which the officer made of the young girl late at night. The evidence proved that the officer later urged the girl to not just deny that that he had bothered her with his text messages, but that she also support his claim that the headlights of her vehicle were not on when he stopped her and such was his reason for the stop. After the girl complained to the city that the officer’s conduct scared and made her uncomfortable, the city began an investigation of the matter (during which time the officer filed with the EEOC a charge of discrimination), following which the city termin...

June 13, 2015

In November 2007, while on patrol around midnight, a police officer was dispatched to a burglary-in-progress at a residence. The homeowner and her daughter, armed with a gun, believed the burglar had already entered their home. The officer turned on his emergency lights and siren and began driving to the residence. While in route on a two-lane highway, the officer encountered a vehicle ahead traveling in the same direction. As the officer got closer to the vehicle, he observed the vehicle's brake lights come on. The vehicle then slowed and moved to the right side of the road, as required by Alabama law. The officer then moved into the left lane to pass the vehicle. Though he was unsure of his exact speed, the officer knew he was traveling over the posted speed limit of 55 miles per hour. As the officer attempted to pass the vehicle to the left, the vehicle, traveling at approximately 30 miles per hour, suddenly turned left in front of the officer. The two vehicles collided seriously in...

December 16, 2014

The Firm successfully defended a South Alabama town in a flooding lawsuit in state court. The plaintiff claimed her home and property flooded more than 15 times over the course of several years. The plaintiff alleged the flooding was caused by the town’s failure to maintain its drainage system in her neighborhood, which the plaintiff testified channeled water onto her property each time it rained. After extensive discovery was conducted, the trial court granted summary judgment for the town and found that the plaintiff did not prove the flooding was caused by any negligence of the town. The plaintiff appealed to the Alabama Supreme Court, but lost again when the Court affirmed the grant of summary judgment in favor of the town and dismissed the case.

August 8, 2014

A federal court dismissed a case in which the plaintiff claimed that an Alabama city and several of its officials had violated her constitutional rights relating to her arrest by the city’s chief of police. The plaintiff alleged that the police chief unlawfully entered her home, assaulted her, then arrested and took her to jail, where he again assaulted her even while she was handcuffed. The plaintiff alleged that while confined to the city’s jail for several days, she requested medical treatment for her alleged injuries, but her requests were ignored. The plaintiff sought to hold the city, its mayor, and the members of its city council (“the defendants”) liable for wrongfully training, supervising, and continuing to employ the police chief even though they allegedly knew about other similar previous complaints about him. The plaintiff sought damages against the defendants of at least $500,000. The court, however, concluded that the plaintiff’s allegations failed to plausibly establish...

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