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Schug v. Moore

Supreme Court of Alaska

July 2, 2010

Franklin SCHUG, Appellant,
v.
Stephanie Galbraith MOORE, Appellee.

Page 1115

Franklin Schug, pro se, Anchorage, Appellant.

Laura C. Bottger, Assistant Attorney General, Anchorage, and Daniel S. Sullivan, Attorney General, Juneau, for Appellee.

Before: CARPENETI, Chief Justice, FABE, WINFREE, and CHRISTEN, Justices.

OPINION

CHRISTEN, Justice.

I. INTRODUCTION

In 2004 Franklin Schug sued the Alaska Department of Corrections (DOC) for negligently causing him to suffer personal injury while being transported from an Alaska prison to an Arizona prison. Assistant Attorney General Stephanie Galbraith Moore defended DOC in that suit, and the jury entered a verdict in DOC's favor. Schug then sued Moore, alleging she engaged in fraud, deception, and conspiracy in connection with his personal injury case. The superior court granted Moore's motion for summary judgment because Moore " is absolutely immune from these claims" and Schug's claims against Moore were unsustainable as a matter of law. Although we do not decide whether Moore has absolute or qualified immunity, we agree that Moore is protected by official immunity and that Schug's claims are unsustainable as a matter of law. Therefore, we affirm the superior court's order granting summary judgment.

Page 1116

II. FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS

The State of Alaska incarcerated Schug in Alaska and Arizona from 2000 until 2008. Schug filed a complaint against DOC in 2004 seeking compensation for injuries allegedly suffered while being transported by air from an Alaska prison to an Arizona prison. Attorney Joe Josephson represented Schug in the personal injury suit. A jury returned a verdict in DOC's favor. Schug did not file a timely appeal, but he did subsequently initiate two separate actions against Josephson and Moore. All of Schug's claims against Moore for " attorney malpractice" arose from her role as DOC's defense attorney in Schug's personal injury case.

Moore filed a motion for summary judgment that grouped Schug's allegations against her into three categories. The first category encompasses Schug's claims that during discovery and trial of the personal injury case, Moore engaged in multiple acts of deceit that deprived him of a fair trial. The second category includes Schug's claims that Moore conspired with Josephson to hide evidence, to prevent Schug from pursuing certain claims, and to prevent him from filing a timely appeal of the verdict. In the third category of claims, Schug alleges that Moore knew of a grand conspiracy between Cornell Prison Systems and Josephson to keep Schug confined and deny him medical care.

Moore filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that her actions as the attorney defending DOC were protected by qualified or absolute official immunity and, alternatively, that Schug's allegations were factually baseless and unsupportable as a matter of law. The materials Schug filed in response to the summary judgment motion reasserted the same conclusory allegations made in his complaint. He offered no admissible evidence to support his claims against Moore.

On January 25, 2008, the superior court granted Moore's motion for summary judgment because all three categories of claims " are unsustainable as a matter of law" and Moore had absolute immunity as to the first two categories of claims. Schug only appeals the ...


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