Baldwin County was dismissed as one of the defendants in a lawsuit arising from a fatal 2018 eviction in Fairhope. The case continues against Sheriff Huey “Hoss” Mack, several deputies, and the landlords, as it was filed two years after deputies were sent to carry out the eviction order and ended with the death of 65-year-old Robert Yates, who fired a warning shot during the incident.
The daughter of a man killed by Baldwin County law enforcement officers during an eviction in 2018 has filed a federal lawsuit, alleging constitutional violations, negligence, excessive force, and deliberate indifference to her father’s safety and medical needs, among other counts, naming Sheriff Huey “Hoss” Mack and several individual deputies as defendants.
In a separate case, Mack, the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office (BCSO) and several members of the county’s Major Crimes Unit (MCU) have responded to a wrongful death lawsuit filed in March by the daughter of a man who was killed by the BCSO SWAT team at the conclusion of a 2018 standoff south of Fairhope.
According to the complaint, deputies were attempting to serve an eviction notice on Robert Yates when he allegedly fired a “warning shot” from within his mobile home, causing the deputies to take cover and call for backup. After a standoff that lasted several hours, the SWAT team fired tear gas canisters into the home before gaining access and killing Yates. The lawsuit claims deputies fired more than 114 rounds of ammunition in the process.
On May 6, Mack filed a brief in support of a motion to dismiss the lawsuit claiming Yates’ death was the result of his “attempt to murder law enforcement officers who were trying to execute a lawful eviction order.” It claims the lawsuit “is a disaster … It is the quintessential example of a shotgun pleading; it lumps all defendants together and does not differentiate each defendant’s conduct, which makes answering the complaint impossible.”
Further, it states “law enforcement cannot be expected to sit idly by and let a man who has tried to kill officers to remain barricaded and pose a risk not only to the officers but to the nearby residences.”
In separate briefs filed by attorney J. Randall McNeill, Mack claims both qualified and absolute state sovereign immunity, while also arguing the MCU and SWAT team are not entities subject to suit. Motions to dismiss have also been filed on behalf of Yates’ landlords, the county itself and several individual members of the MCU and SWAT team.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Sonja Bivens has ordered the plaintiffs to respond to the motions by June 2.