Thursday, November 14, 2019

Judicial Privilege: Lawyers (Thankfully) Protecting Lawyers

In the case of Doe v. Garabedian, No. 19-1539 (E.D. Pa. Oct. 2, 2019 DuBois, J.), the court granted a Motion to Dismiss after finding that statements by an attorney, during the course of a judicial proceeding, were absolutely privileged under the judicial immunity privilege. As such, the court found that such statements by the attorney could not support an intentional infliction of emotional distress claim.

The court relied upon the judicial privilege, which holds that any statements made by a judge or an attorney, or witnesses, or parties "in the course of or pertinent to any stage of judicial proceedings are absolutely privileged and, therefore, cannot form the basis for liability for defamation."

In this case, the court found that statements made by attorneys in a demand letter prior to the institution of the formal lawsuit were protected under the judicial privilege and, therefore, could not support the Plaintiff's defamation claim.  As such, the case was dismissed.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.  The Court's companion Order can be viewed HERE.

I send thanks to Attorney James M. Beck of the Philadelphia office of the Reed Smith law firm for bringing this case to my attention.

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