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Torts Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:The facts, according to the court of appeals opinion, are as follows: During a suit between Universal Image Inc. and Yahoo, Broadcast.com and Mark Cuban, a visiting judge issued a TRO for Universal on an issue in the case. The next day, another visiting judge, Robert Jenevein, dissolved the TRO. Universal’s attorney, Lawrence J. Friedman, asked the judge orally and in writing to recuse himself, which were denied. Later, in an amended petition, Friedman alleged there was a bribery conspiracy between Cuban, Cuban’s lawyer and the original judge in the case. He alleged that the judge solicited campaign contributions in exchange for rulings, had exchanged rulings for sexual favors and had made “frequent ad litem appointments” to Jenevein’s wife, Terrie, also a lawyer. Terrie Jenevein sued Friedman for defamation, saying that she did receive ad litem appointments, but that the statement in Friedman’s complaint implied that she was also someone with whom the judge allegedly exchanged sexual favors. The trial court granted Friedman’s motion for summary judgment, ruling that Friedman’s statements were entitled to the absolute immunity applicable to pleadings filed by an attorney in pending litigation. HOLDING:Affirmed. The litigation privilege, which generally applies to any communication uttered or published during litigation, extends to statements made by judges, jurors, attorneys, witnesses or other related parties, as well as to statements made in open court, pretrial hearings, depositions, affidavits or pleadings. The court notes that the Texas Supreme Court has never directly addressed whether, for the privilege to apply, the defamatory statement must by connected to the subject matter of the proceedings. The court rules that the statement has to have “some relation” to the underlying proceedings. Applying the “some relation” test to the facts of this case, the court rejects Terrie’s argument that she is a third party with no relation to the underlying suit. Friedman was alleging a conspiracy to bribe a judge, the court finds, and alleged judicial improprieties in granting ad litem appointments could be introduced to establish intent. OPINION:Bridges, J.; James, Bridges and Richter, JJ.

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