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Inman v. City of Whiteville

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

September 16, 2014

KAYLA J. INMAN
v.
CITY OF WHITEVILLE, a municipality incorporated under the laws of the State of North Carolina

Heard in the Court of Appeals June 5, 2014.

Columbus County. No. 12 CVS 561.

Lee & Lee, Attorneys, by Junius B. Lee, III, for plaintiff-appellant.

Crossley McIntosh Collier Hanley & Edes, PLLC, by Clay Collier, and Williamson Walton & Scott, LLP, by Carlton F. Williamson, for defendant-appellee.

DAVIS, Judge. Judges HUNTER, JR. and ERVIN concur.

OPINION

DAVIS, Judge.

Appeal by plaintiff from order entered 2 August 2013 by Judge D. Jack Hooks, Jr. in

Page 333

Columbus County Superior Court.

Kayla J. Inman (" Plaintiff" ) appeals from the trial court's order dismissing her complaint against the City of Whiteville (" the City" ) pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure. On appeal, she contends that the trial court erred in dismissing her complaint based on the public duty doctrine. After careful review, we affirm the trial court's order.

Factual Background

We have summarized the pertinent facts below using the statements contained in Plaintiff's complaint, which we treat as true when reviewing an order dismissing a complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). See Stein v. Asheville City Bd. of Educ., 360 N.C. 321, 325, 626 S.E.2d 263, 266 (2006) ( " When reviewing a complaint dismissed under Rule 12(b)(6), we treat a plaintiff's factual allegations as true." ).

On 12 September 2011, Plaintiff was involved in a motor vehicle accident near the intersection of South Madison Street and East Hayes Street in Whiteville, North Carolina. Plaintiff was " run off the road" by another motorist, and Plaintiff and her passenger suffered significant injuries arising from the accident. Officer Donnie Hedwin (" Officer Hedwin" ) of the Whiteville Police Department was called to the scene to investigate the accident. Officer Hedwin spoke with the other motorist but did not ascertain his identity or include his name in the accident report. When questioned about this omission, Officer Hedwin and his supervisor, Sergeant Mark McGee, both stated that the accident had not been investigated further because there had been no physical contact between the two vehicles.

On 30 April 2012, Plaintiff filed a complaint against the City in Columbus County Superior Court alleging that Officer Hedwin and Sergeant McGee, who were agents of the City acting in the course and scope of their employment, were negligent in their investigation of the accident, primarily because they failed to ascertain the identity of the other motorist. Plaintiff asserted that " [b]ased upon the failure of the officers to properly and completely investigate, the identity of the party responsible for this accident has not been determined" and that " [b]ut for the negligent acts of [the City], by and through its employees, the plaintiff could have and would have maintained an action against the unknown driver of the second vehicle for her damages."

On 7 August 2012, the City filed an answer and motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. The City's motion to dismiss came on for hearing on 15 July 2013, and the trial court entered an order dismissing Plaintiff's ...


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