Wiener v. Weintraub

CourtNew York Court of Appeals
Writing for the CourtFULD
Citation239 N.E.2d 540,22 N.Y.2d 330,292 N.Y.S.2d 667
Decision Date14 June 1968
Parties, 239 N.E.2d 540 Ralph H. WIENER, Appellant, v. Melvin WEINTRAUB et al., Respondents.

Page 667

292 N.Y.S.2d 667
22 N.Y.2d 330, 239 N.E.2d 540
Ralph H. WIENER, Appellant,
v.
Melvin WEINTRAUB et al., Respondents.
Court of Appeals of New York.
June 14, 1968.

Page 668

Ralph H. Wiener appellant, pro se.

Stephen Hochhauser, Albert A. Blinder, New York City, and Seth D. Blumenfeld for respondents.

[22 N.Y.2d 331] FULD, Chief Judge.

In this action for libel, the plaintiff, a member of the New York Bar, alleges in his complaint that the defendants falsely and maliciously charged him, in a letter addressed to the Grievance Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, with dishonesty and fraud. The defendants moved, pursuant to CPLR 3211 (subd. (a)), to dismiss the complaint on the ground that it fails to state a cause of action in that the letter to the Grievance Committee was absolutely privileged. The court at Special Term granted the motion, dismissing the complaint. The Appellate Division unanimously affirmed the resulting order and granted leave to appeal to us.

There can, of course, be no doubt that statements made by counsel and parties in the course of 'judicial proceedings' and privileged as long as such statements 'are material and pertinent to the questions involved * * * irrespective of the motive' with which they are made. (Marsh v. Ellsworth, 50 N.Y. 309, 311; Youmans v. Smith, 153 N.Y. 214, 219, 47 N.E. 265, 266; see, also, Civil Rights Law, Consol. Laws, c. 6, § 74, providing that no civil action may be maintained against any party for the [239 N.E.2d 541] publication of a fair and true report of a judicial or other official proceeding.) Petitions or complaints charging professional misconduct of an attorney which, in the past, were presented to the General Term of the Supreme Court (see Youmans v. Smith, 153 N.Y. 214, 215, 47 N.E. 265, 266, supra) are now usually filed with the Grievance Committee of a bar association. (Judiciary Law, Consol. Laws, c. 30, § 90, subd. 7; Rules of App.Div., 1st Dept., pt. 4 rule XII; Rules of App.

Page 669

Div., 2d Dept., pt. 3, rule XII; see Matter of Branch, 178 App.Div. 585, 588--589, 165 N.Y.S. 688, 689--691; Matter of Wyte, 231 App.Div. 539, 547, 248 N.Y.S. 26, 34; Sullivan v. Crisona, 54 Misc.2d 478, 283 N.Y.S.2d 62.) And, it has been observed, a proceeding before such a committee constitutes a 'judicial proceeding.' (Doe v. Rosenberry, 2 Cir., 255 F.2d 118, 120.) In the investigation of such [22 N.Y.2d 332] complaints and in the conduct of such...

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96 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
    ...v. Lear Siegler, Inc., 397 So.2d 1109 (Miss. 1981); Sinnett v. Albert, 188 Neb. 176, 195 N.W.2d 506 (1972); Weiner v. Weintraub, 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. Ap......
  • Part II
    • United States
    • Federal Register December 12, 2003
    • December 12, 2003
    ...v. Lear Siegler, Inc., 397 So.2d 1109 (Miss. 1981); Sinnett v. Albert, 188 Neb. 176, 195 N.W.2d 506 (1972); Weiner v. Weintraub, 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. Ap......
  • O'BRIEN v. Alexander, No. 94 Civ. 5400 (DC).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • August 29, 1995
    ...in a letter from an attorney to the Grievance Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Wiener v. Weintraub, 22 N.Y.2d 330, 239 N.E.2d 540, 292 N.Y.S.2d 667 (1968); and in an information subpoena mailed to a plaintiff's employer, Mancini v. Marine Midland Bank, 185 A.......
  • Parrillo, Weiss & Moss v. Cashion, No. 88-0507
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • March 29, 1989
    ...of plaintiff was necessarily preliminary to a quasi-judicial proceeding and absolutely privileged); Wiener v. Weintraub (1968), 22 N.Y.2d 330, 292 N.Y.S.2d 667, 239 N.E.2d 540 (letter to Grievance Committee of Association of the Bar of the City of New York initiated a judicial proceeding an......
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94 cases
  • O'BRIEN v. Alexander, No. 94 Civ. 5400 (DC).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • August 29, 1995
    ...in a letter from an attorney to the Grievance Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Wiener v. Weintraub, 22 N.Y.2d 330, 239 N.E.2d 540, 292 N.Y.S.2d 667 (1968); and in an information subpoena mailed to a plaintiff's employer, Mancini v. Marine Midland Bank, 185 A.......
  • Parrillo, Weiss & Moss v. Cashion, No. 88-0507
    • United States
    • United States Appellate Court of Illinois
    • March 29, 1989
    ...of plaintiff was necessarily preliminary to a quasi-judicial proceeding and absolutely privileged); Wiener v. Weintraub (1968), 22 N.Y.2d 330, 292 N.Y.S.2d 667, 239 N.E.2d 540 (letter to Grievance Committee of Association of the Bar of the City of New York initiated a judicial proceeding an......
  • Bar Grp., LLC v. Bus. Intelligence Advisors, Inc., CIVIL ACTION H–16–0428
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. United States District Courts. 5th Circuit. Southern District of Texas
    • February 22, 2017
    ...N.E.2d 182 ). The privilege attaches to such statements irrespective of an attorney's motive for making them (see Wiener v. Weintraub , 22 N.Y.2d 330, 331, 292 N.Y.S.2d 667, 239 N.E.2d 540 [1968] ).Texas law is similar. See, e.g., James v. Brown , 637 S.W.2d 914, 916–17 (Tex. 1982) (holding......
  • Soares v. State, 906409-18
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New York)
    • January 28, 2020
    ...include the conduct of hearing and imposition of sanctions, matters long recognized as quasi-judicial (see Wiener v. Weintraub , 22 N.Y.2d 330, 332, 292 N.Y.S.2d 667, 239 N.E.2d 540 [1968] [grievance committee investigating complaints of attorney misconduct and conducting hearings thereon w......
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