Mills v. Hankla

[EMPLOYMENT LAW]

In Mills v. Hankla,[1] the supreme court held that municipalities are immune from negligent hiring claims because hiring is a discretionary action requiring deliberation and judgment.[2] Hankla did not meet the eligibility requirements when he was appointed Hoonah police chief by the Hoonah City Council (the “Council”).[3] The Council subsequently amended the city code to make him qualified and rehired him.[4] Four employees then claimed the city negligently hired Hankla because of his alleged discriminatory treatment and sexual harassment.[5] On appeal, the employees challenged the lower court’s entry of summary judgment dismissing their negligent hiring claim.[6] The supreme court affirmed the lower court’s decision, interpreting Alaska Statute 09.65.070(d)(2) as providing qualified official immunity protecting municipalities from liability for discretionary actions when those actions were done by a public official within his scope of duties.[7] Here, according to the court, the Council’s appointment of Hankla was discretionary because it required deliberation and judgment in evaluating and selecting candidates from an applicant pool.[8] Affirming the lower court’s decision, the supreme court held that municipalities are immune from negligent hiring claims because hiring is a discretionary action requiring deliberation and judgment.[9]

 



[1] 297 P.3d 158 (Alaska 2013).

[2] Id. at 173. 

[3] Id. at 161.

[4] Id.

[5] Id. at 162.

[6] Id. at 173.

[7] Id.

[8] Id.

[9] Id.

Mills v. Hankla

[EMPLOYMENT LAW]

In Mills v. Hankla,[1] the supreme court held that municipalities are immune from negligent hiring claims because hiring is a discretionary action requiring deliberation and judgment.[2] Hankla did not meet the eligibility requirements when he was appointed Hoonah police chief by the Hoonah City Council (the “Council”).[3] The Council subsequently amended the city code to make him qualified and rehired him.[4] Four employees then claimed the city negligently hired Hankla because of his alleged discriminatory treatment and sexual harassment.[5] On appeal, the employees challenged the lower court’s entry of summary judgment dismissing their negligent hiring claim.[6] The supreme court affirmed the lower court’s decision, interpreting Alaska Statute 09.65.070(d)(2) as providing qualified official immunity protecting municipalities from liability for discretionary actions when those actions were done by a public official within his scope of duties.[7] Here, according to the court, the Council’s appointment of Hankla was discretionary because it required deliberation and judgment in evaluating and selecting candidates from an applicant pool.[8] Affirming the lower court’s decision, the supreme court held that municipalities are immune from negligent hiring claims because hiring is a discretionary action requiring deliberation and judgment.[9]

 



[1] 297 P.3d 158 (Alaska 2013).

[2] Id. at 173. 

[3] Id. at 161.

[4] Id.

[5] Id. at 162.

[6] Id. at 173.

[7] Id.

[8] Id.

[9] Id.