Mitchell v. Pruden (Lawyers Weekly No. 011-021-17, 14 pp.) (Douglas McCullough, J.) Appealed from New Hanover County Superior Court (Jay Hockenbury, J.) N.C. App.
Holding: Plaintiffs make conclusory allegations that the statements the defendant-school superintendent published to others – statements which discouraged approval of a new charter school – were made in his individual capacity. However, defendant’s alleged actions were consistent with the duties and authority of a superintendent and constituted permissible opinions regarding his concerns for the approval of a new charter school.
We reverse the trial court’s denial of defendant’s motion to dismiss on the basis of public official immunity.
Plaintiffs state bare, conclusory allegations that defendant acted with malice. Because we presume that defendant discharged his duties in good faith and exercised his power in accordance with the spirit and purpose of the law and plaintiffs have not shown any evidence to the contrary, we hold that the complaint failed to allege facts which would support a legal conclusion that defendant acted with malice.