District Court Judge v. Newspaper and Publisher

Appellate Ruling
May 2014

Sedgwick obtained a favorable appellate ruling for our clients, a newspaper and publishing company, in the Texas Sixth District Court of Appeals. The plaintiff, a district court judge, filed a libel suit against a lawyer who alleged the plaintiff solicited prostitutes and used drugs. The lawyer produced two witnesses who had had given sworn statements about the plaintiff’s conduct. The plaintiff then dismissed the lawsuit. Our clients intervened in the case to obtain release of the witness statements. The trial court ruled the statements were court records on grounds that they concerned a matter having a probable adverse effect on the operation of government and the administration of office.  The plaintiff appealed the ruling up to the Texas Supreme Court, which denied his petition in 2013. Back at the trial level, the court denied the plaintiff’s motion to seal the court records and the matter again went up on appeal. The appeals court affirmed the decision. The case resulted in two groundbreaking published appellate opinions.