McAfee v. Feller, No. 330

CourtCourt of Appeals of Texas. Court of Civil Appeals of Texas
Writing for the CourtBARRON
Citation452 S.W.2d 56
PartiesJerry McAFEE, Appellant, v. James E. FELLER, Appellee. (14th Dist.)
Decision Date18 February 1970
Docket NumberNo. 330

Page 56

452 S.W.2d 56
Jerry McAFEE, Appellant,
v.
James E. FELLER, Appellee.
No. 330.
Court of Civil Appeals of Texas,
Houston (14th Dist.).
Feb. 18, 1970.

Jerry McAfee, Houston, for appellant.

Murray L. Lieberman, Lieberman & Tratras, Houston, for appellee.

BARRON, Justice.

This is a libel action filed by plaintiff below, Jerry McAfee, a duly licensed and practicing attorney. The alleged libel was based upon a letter written and addressed to the Grievance Committee, Harris County Bar Association, Houston, Texas. The letter was forwarded to the Grievance Committee of the State Bar of Texas, District 8, Houston, Texas. The letter was signed by James E. Feller, defendant below. For the purpose of this opinion the letter may be considered under ordinary conditions to be libelous.

Feller filed motion for summary judgment showing and alleging privilege as his defense. The trial court sustained defendant's motion for summary judgment and rendered judgment in favor of the defendant, James E. Feller. The plaintiff, McAfee, has duly perfected his appeal.

All persons who practice law in the State of Texas are members of the State Bar and are subject to the provisions of the State Bar Act and the rules adopted by the Supreme Court of Texas. Art. 320a--1, Sec. 3, Vernon's Ann.Civ.St. The State Bar has been constituted an administrative agency of the Judicial Department of the State. Pursuant to the Act, the Supreme Court has promulgated rules governing the State Bar of Texas. Grievance Committees have been provided in each Congressional District, with power to hear complaints against attorneys and to investigate them. The Committees have power to require the attendance of witnesses and the production of documentary or other evidence, and they have the power to make decisions in matters being investigated. Procedure by formal complaint is also provided for. See Art. XII, State Bar Rules, Vol. 1A, p. 221 et seq., V.A.C.S. Professional conduct of attorneys is a matter of great importance to the public, and power to discipline members of the State Bar for misconduct is necessary.

The rule that communications uttered or published in the course of a judicial proceeding are absolutely privileged, applies to proceedings before executive officers, boards and commissions which exercise quasi-judicial powers. To bring the proceedings within the rule above, the board or committee must have authority not only

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20 practice notes
  • Practice and procedure: Patent and trademark cases rules of practice; representation of others before Patent and Trademark Office,
    • United States
    • Federal Register December 12, 2003
    • December 12, 2003
    ...22 N.Y.2d 330, 292 N.Y.S.2d 667, 239 N.E.2d 540 (1968); Elsass v. Tabler, 131 Ohio App.3d 66, 721 N.E.2d 503 (1999); McAfee v. Feller, 452 S.W.2d 56 (Tex. Civ. App. Houston 14th Dist. 1970). Complaints filed with a state bar committee are absolutely privileged as communications made in a qu......
  • Part II
    • United States
    • Federal Register December 12, 2003
    • December 12, 2003
    ...22 N.Y.2d 330, 292 N.Y.S.2d 667, 239 N.E.2d 540 (1968); Elsass v. Tabler, 131 Ohio App.3d 66, 721 N.E.2d 503 (1999); McAfee v. Feller, 452 S.W.2d 56 (Tex. Civ. App. Houston 14th Dist. 1970). Complaints filed with a state bar committee are absolutely privileged as communications made in a qu......
  • Hackethal v. Weissbein
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • April 12, 1979
    ...Or. 383, 347 P.2d 594; Wiener v. Weintraub (1968) 22 N.Y.2d 330, 292 N.Y.S.2d 667, 239 N.E.2d 540; McAfee v. Feller (Tex.Civ.App.1970) 452 S.W.2d 56.) 2 Thus, [24 Cal.3d 68] both prior judicial authorities and the purpose of section 47, subdivision 2 support the trial court's application of......
  • Toker v. Pollak
    • United States
    • New York Court of Appeals
    • April 6, 1978
    ...with a quasi-judicial proceeding. (See Bradley v. Hartford Acc. & Ind. Co., 30 Cal.App.3d 818, 106 Cal.Rptr. 718; McAfee v. Feller, 452 S.W.2d 56 To clothe with absolute immunity communications made to a body acting in other than a quasi-judicial capacity communications which because of the......
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18 cases
  • Hackethal v. Weissbein
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • April 12, 1979
    ...Or. 383, 347 P.2d 594; Wiener v. Weintraub (1968) 22 N.Y.2d 330, 292 N.Y.S.2d 667, 239 N.E.2d 540; McAfee v. Feller (Tex.Civ.App.1970) 452 S.W.2d 56.) 2 Thus, [24 Cal.3d 68] both prior judicial authorities and the purpose of section 47, subdivision 2 support the trial court's application of......
  • Toker v. Pollak
    • United States
    • New York Court of Appeals
    • April 6, 1978
    ...with a quasi-judicial proceeding. (See Bradley v. Hartford Acc. & Ind. Co., 30 Cal.App.3d 818, 106 Cal.Rptr. 718; McAfee v. Feller, 452 S.W.2d 56 To clothe with absolute immunity communications made to a body acting in other than a quasi-judicial capacity communications which because of......
  • Kropp v. Prather, No. 836
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas. Court of Civil Appeals of Texas
    • July 31, 1975
    ...Co., 479 S .W.2d 780 (Tex.Civ.App., Waco, 1972, error dism.), cert. denied 410 U.S. 983, 93 S.Ct. 1504, 36 L.Ed.2d 179; McAfee v. Feller, 452 S.W.2d 56 (Tex.Civ.App., Houston, 14th Dist., 1970, n.w.h.). Therefore, the question presented is whether a notice of lis pendens recorded as authori......
  • Hearing on Immunity for Ethics Complainants, Matter of
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • July 3, 1984
    ...Co., 323 Mo. 1204, 23 S.W.2d 45 (1929); Baggott v. Hughes, 34 Ohio Misc. 63, 296 N.E.2d 696 (Ct.Comm.Pleas 1973); McAfee v. Fedder, 452 S.W.2d 56 8 Whether the privilege in England also protects a witness or complainant from an action in malicious prosecution is not clear. However, in the l......
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