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February 2020

Denver Team Successfully Defends Legal Malpractice Matter at Trial and on Appeal

Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani attorneys John Palmeri and John “Jack” Mann obtained dismissal of a defamation case against an attorney and his law firm. 

The defamation case was brought by the defendants named in a securities fraud lawsuit against the attorney who filed the securities fraud action.  The defamation case alleged the attorney’s letter to the defendants’ shareholders soliciting their involvement as plaintiffs in the securities fraud lawsuit was defamatory.  

The trial court dismissed the defamation case as barred by the absolute litigation privilege, which immunizes attorneys against defamation claims based on communications related to litigation even where, as in this case, the alleged defamatory communication occurs before the litigation is filed.  

The Colorado Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal, holding that the privilege protected the attorney and law firm from liability for defamation because the securities fraud action was filed shortly after the client solicitation letter was sent and that, because the defamation complaint anticipated the defense of absolute privilege, it was properly raised in a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim.  

Both the trial and appellate courts awarded attorney fees to the attorney and law firm.

John R. Mann
John M. Palmeri