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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:A shareholder in a firm, who also served as a legislator on a city council, voted in favor of an ordinance that adversely affected a firm client. The client sued the shareholder and his firm for malpractice for 1. negligently failing to inform the client in advance of the city council meeting at which the ordinance was passed and 2. breach of fiduciary duty arising from a failure to avoid or disclose a conflict of interest created by the shareholder’s support of the ordinance and his vote. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the firm. A divided court of appeals reversed and remanded. HOLDING:Reversed and rendered. Legislative immunity shields the shareholder from liability for any conflict of interest created by legitimate legislative functions undertaken in connection with his position as a city councilperson. The court holds that the shareholder’s discussion, persuasion of colleagues and vote on the ordinance were legitimate legislative functions. The court also concludes that the shareholder’s alleged leadership role in supporting the moratorium and opposing apartment construction constituted legitimate legislative functions. Because the shareholder is immune from liability for any conflict of interest that may have been created by acts within the sphere of legitimate legislative activity, the firm cannot be liable for those activities or for a conflict of interest created by those activities. Even if the shareholder provided the client with legal advice, he is immune from claims that his legislative activities created a conflict with the client’s interests. The trial court properly granted summary judgment in favor of the firm on the client’s claim that the firm negligently failed to inform the client about the Sept. 7, 1994, city council meeting on the moratorium. Because representing the client before the city council was not included in the scope of the firm’s representation, the firm had no duty to inform the client of the Sept. 7, 1994, meeting. The client argued that because the case had been on file for less than two months, the client had been deprived of an adequate opportunity to conduct discovery to respond to the shareholder’s motion for summary judgment. The client also explained that its lead counsel had been in trial for approximately three weeks during the pendency of the client’s suit and attached an affidavit from counsel in support. The trial court denied the client’s motion for continuance. The court concludes that the client failed to identify facts essential to justify its opposition to Joe’s motion for summary judgment, and therefore, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying the client’s motion for continuance. The client’s evidence does not create a fact issue that the shareholder was acting beyond the scope of his authority as a city councilperson. Conducting legal research in preparation for a city council vote does not create an attorney-client relationship between the shareholder and the city, and sharing that information with fellow council members as part of deliberations does not change that conclusion. The client points to a billing statement titled Gen. Expense Reimbursement-H. Joe as evidence that the shareholder and the city had an attorney-client relationship. The statement, which the client argues was submitted to the city for payment, is an administrative reimbursement for the librarian’s retrieval of requested case law and did not include any charges for the shareholder’s services. Thus, the shareholder’s motion for summary judgment establishes that his research was in preparation for a city council meeting, was not part of legal services provided to the city of Irving, and does not create an attorney-client relationship between the shareholder and the city as a matter of law. The client’s response to the shareholder’s motion for summary judgment provides no relevant evidence to support its contention that Joe failed to act in objective good faith when voting on the moratorium or conducting research in preparation to vote on the moratorium. Instead, in its briefing to this court, argues that “[the shareholder] misrepresented the existing attorney-client relationship between [the firm] and 239 JV to avoid any accusations of a conflict of interest” and that “[n]o reasonable private attorney/public official would completely disregard his private clients in pursuing his political agenda thereby ignoring potential conflict issues.” Neither this argument, nor 239 JV’s evidence in response to the shareholder’s motion for summary judgment, refute the shareholder’s evidence that he acted in objective good faith. Joe established, as a matter of law, that a reasonably prudent official, under the same or similar circumstances, could have believed that his conduct, preparing for and voting in favor of the moratorium, was justified. Thus, the shareholder established as a matter of law that he was officially immune from liability for the alleged conflict of interest arising from his activities as an Irving city councilperson. OPINION:Wainwright, J., delivered the court’s opinion; Schneider, J., did not participate.

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