Louisiana Supreme Court Ruling Reaffirms Limitations to Absolute Judicial Immunity

The Louisiana Supreme Court recently addressed on a supervisory writ, Palowsky v. Campbell et al., where the plaintiff alleged that a law clerk, “spoliated, concealed, destroyed, shredded, withheld, and/or improperly ‘handled’ certain court documents”. It further was alleged that judges of the court had aided or concealed the actions of the law clerk. The trial court had granted the defendant judges and law clerk an exception of no cause of action. The First Circuit Court of Appeal had reversed the exception as to the law clerk, but left in place the no cause of action as to the judges, affirming the grant of judicial immunity.

The Supreme Court of Louisiana found that the lower courts erred in granting the no cause of action as to both judges and law clerk. Considering the facts as pled in plaintiff’s Petition as true, the Supreme Court found that the judges’ supervision and investigation of the law clerk was an administrative action and not judicial in nature. As such, under these specific facts, the judges and law clerk were not entitled to judicial immunity, as the acts alleged, “were not themselves judicial or adjudicative.”

Palowsky v. Campbell, 2018-1105 (La. 6/26/19); ___ So.3d ___.