law-judicial-communications-privilege absolute immunity | judicial immunity (immunity of judges in official
LEGAL COMMUNICATIONS PRIVILEGE & ABSOLUTE IMMUNITY
The communicative privilege covers "any statement made by the judge, jurors, counsel, parties or
witnesses, and attaches to all aspects of the proceedings, including statements made in open
court, pre-trial hearings, depositions, affidavits, and any other pleadings or other papers in the
case." James v. Brown, 637 S.W.2d 914, 916-917 (Tex. 1982).
The purpose of the communicative privilege is to ensure parties feel free to make full disclosures
to tribunals without the fear of retaliatory lawsuits. Id. at 917. This privilege is founded on the
"theory that the good it accomplishes in protecting the rights of the general public outweighs any
wrong or injury which may result to a particular individual." Reagan v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 166
S.W.2d 909, 913 (Tex. 1942)
"`Any communication, oral or written, uttered or published in the due course of a judicial proceeding is
absolutely privileged and cannot constitute the basis of a civil action in damages for slander or libel. The
falsity of the statement or the malice of the utterer is immaterial, and the rule of nonliability prevails even
though the statement was not relevant, pertinent and material to the issues involved in the case.'" Reagan
v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 140 Tex. 105, 166 S.W.2d 909, 912 (1942); Jenevein v. Friedman, 114 S.W.3d
743, 745 (Tex.App.-Dallas 2003). The litigation privilege "`extends to any statement made by the judge,
jurors, counsel, parties or witnesses and attaches to all aspects of the proceedings, including statements
made in open court, pretrial hearings, depositions, affidavits and any of the pleadings or other papers in
the case.'" Jenevein, 114 S.W.3d at 745, quoting James v. Brown, 637 S.W.2d 914, 917-18 (Tex.1982).
The privilege is one of public policy "founded on the theory that the good it accomplishes in protecting the
rights of the general public outweighs any wrong or injury which may result to a particular individual."
Reagan, 166 S.W.2d at 913. The absolute privilege for judicial proceedings is also based on a public
policy that "the administration of justice requires full disclosure from witnesses, unhampered by fear of
retaliatory suits for defamation." Perdue, Brackett, Flores, Utt & Burns v. Linebarger, Goggan, Blair,
Sampson & Meeks, LLP, 291 869*869 S.W.3d 448, 451 (Tex.App.-Forth Worth 2009), citing James v.
Brown, 637 S.W.2d at 916, and 5-State Helicopters, Inc. v. Cox, 146 S.W.3d 254, 257 (Tex.App.-Fort
Worth 2004, pet. denied). For the privilege to apply, the governmental entity must have the power and
authority to investigate and decide the issue, and the communication must bear some relationship to the
pending or proposed quasijudicial proceeding. Perdue, Brackett, 291 S.W.3d at 452; Jenevein, 114
S.W.3d at 746.
Bosch v. Armstrong (Tex.App.- Houston [1st Dist.] Jun. 11, 2009)(Jennings)
(suit barred by judicial communications tort immunity, absolute privilege for communications in legal court
proceeding, sanctions for baseless claim)
AFFIRM TC JUDGMENT:
Before Justices Jennings, Alcala and Higley
01-08-00847-CV Yigal Bosch v. Mark S. Armstrong and Paul Bailiff and Squire, Sanders & Dempsey L.L.C.
Appeal from 280th District Court of Harris County
Trial Court Judge: The Honorable Tony Lindsay
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