Jimmy BANKS, Individually and in His Official Capacity, Appellant
Sharon JONES, Appellee
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
FROM THE JEFFERSON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 35CV-2013-450],
HONORABLE ALEX GUYNN, JUDGE
Rutledge, Atty Gen., by: Patricia Ann Ausdall, Asst Atty
Gen., for appellant.
& Gillham, P.L.L.C., by: Luther Oneal Sutter and Lucien
Gillham, Little Rock, for appellee.
A. WOMACK, Associate Justice
Jones filed suit against Jimmy Banks, Warden of the Varner
Unit of the Arkansas Department of Correction (ADC). Jones
alleged she had been terminated
from her employment at the Varner Unit due to racial and
gender discrimination. Banks moved for dismissal, arguing
that he was entitled to immunity from suit. The circuit court
denied that motion. We reverse and dismiss.
an African American woman, worked at the Varner Unit until
her termination in 2013. According to Jones, she was
discharged under circumstances that similarly situated white
or male employees were not and was thus subject to unlawful
racial and gender discrimination. Jones points to other
African American women who were terminated from
ADC. She discusses the circumstances
leading up to their discharges at length. Yet the
circumstances giving rise to her termination are
conspicuously absent from the pleadings.
her termination, Jones filed the underlying action against
Banks in his official and individual capacity. She sought to
hold Banks liable for alleged racial and gender
discrimination under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Arkansas
Constitution. Jones alleged to seek only injunctive and
declaratory relief from Banks in his official capacity. In
her prayer for relief, she requested compensatory and
punitive damages, reinstatement, and front pay.
moved for judgment on the pleadings for failure to state a
claim and alleged he was entitled to sovereign, qualified,
and statutory immunity. The circuit court denied that motion.
Jones subsequently filed an amended complaint. Banks moved
for dismissal based on constitutional sovereign immunity,
qualified immunity, and statutory immunity. The circuit court
denied that motion, holding that Banks was not entitled to
any form of immunity. This interlocutory appeal followed.
interlocutory appeal from an "order denying a motion to
dismiss ... based on the defense of sovereign immunity or the
immunity of a government official" is permissible under
Arkansas Rule of Appellate Procedure— Civil 2(a)(10).
SeeArk. Cmty. Corr. v. Barnes, 2018 Ark.
122, at 2, 542 S.W.3d 841, 842. When reviewing the denial of
the motion to dismiss under Rule 2(a)(10), we treat the facts
alleged in the complaint as true and view them in the light
most favorable to the plaintiff. Williams v. McCoy,2018 Ark. 17, at 2, 535 S.W.3d 266, 268. All reasonable
inferences are resolved in favor of the complaint and the
pleadings are liberally construed. Id. Because our
rules require fact pleading, the complaint must state facts
to entitle the pleader to relief. Id. Mere
conclusions will not suffice. Id. We review a motion