311 F.Supp. 1121 (W.D.Okl. 1969), C 68-26, Chandler v. O'Bryan

Docket Nº:C 68-26.
Citation:311 F.Supp. 1121
Party Name:Stephen S. CHANDLER, Plaintiff, v. W. H. Pat O'BRYAN, Defendant.
Case Date:April 23, 1969
Court:United States District Courts, 10th Circuit, Western District of Oklahoma

Page 1121

311 F.Supp. 1121 (W.D.Okl. 1969)

Stephen S. CHANDLER, Plaintiff,


W. H. Pat O'BRYAN, Defendant.

No. C 68-26.

United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma.

April 23, 1969

Page 1122

Carl L. Shipley, Washington, D.C., for plaintiff.

Irwin Goldbloom, Dept. of Justice, Washington, D.C., as amicus curiae.

Reagan M. Martin and Harvey L. Davis, Dallas, Tex., for defendant.


BATTISTI, District Judge.

Plaintiff moved for summary judgment of his declaratory judgment action, pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, on August 12, 1969. Briefs were filed and a hearing was convened on February 27, 1970, to consider defendant's objections that there are material factual disputes which bar a rendering of judgment on this motion under Rule 56(c).

A motion for summary judgment shall be granted if the moving party shows 'that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.' Rule 56(c), F.R.Civ.P. Plaintiff has the affirmative burden of showing the absence of any genuine issue as to all the material facts which entitle him to judgment as a matter of law. 2 Moore's Federal Practice 56.15(3). The moving party must sustain his burden by facts of which the Court will take judicial notice, and the Court may take judicial notice of its records and files. 2 Moore's Federal Practice 56.11(9). The Court, therefore, takes judicial notice of the entire

Page 1123

record before this Court in Civil Action No. 67-88 and in No. 68-26; of information useful to analysis of the issues in this case in Civil Action No. 66-8; of Case No. 170-787 in the Oklahoma state court; and of the records and proceedings in D.C., 249 F.Supp. 51 and 10 Cir., 352 F.2d 987 which involved the same parties and concerned matters relevant to and leading to the issues involved in the present case. The Court also has the benefit of pleadings, affidavits, and oral testimony.

Whether the evidence reveals that a genuine issue of fact exists depends on the legal question presented. The precise legal issue in the present action can be fully understood only in the context of the complete factual background.

Plaintiff is a duly appointed United States District Judge for the Western District of Oklahoma. Defendant is an Oklahoma attorney and certified public accountant. They have been in litigation for literally a decade. On September 25, 1963, O'Bryan filed suit in the District Court of Oklahoma County against Judge Chandler, seeking damages for malicious prosecution, libel, and slander. The cause of action grew out of Judge Chandler's activities before a grand jury on November 9, 1961, which resulted in a criminal indictment against O'Bryan. The case was removed to Federal Court in No. 63-339, and O'Bryan's motion to remand was overruled. The Court found that Judge Chandler's activities were not beyond the scope of his jurisdiction as a district judge, and therefore he was judicially immune from civil liability. O'Bryan v. Chandler, 249 F.Supp. 51 (D.C., 1964). The Court ordered dismissal of the action in the state court.

O'Bryan appealed to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. On November 30, 1965, the Tenth Circuit ruled to affirm the decision of the District Court. O'Bryan v. Chandler, 352 F.2d 287 (1965). The Court set forth the governing principles at page 988:

'It is settled doctrine that a Judge...

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