Can you sue a Judge or the Friend of the Court? Judicial Immunity – By: Daniel Findling (c) 2014
What if a Judge or the Friend of the Court makes a negligent or intentional error? Can you sue a Judge? Nope. Can you sue the Friend of the Court? Maybe. Why not? Because of a concept called judicial immunity.
Michigan divorce judges have absolute judicial immunity from lawsuits. The Friend of the Court is considered quasi-judicial and has immunity from most lawsuits.
At common law, judges received immunity from liability for damages for acts committed within their “judicial jurisdiction”. The United States Supreme Court formally adopted the doctrine of judicial immunity in 1871 in the landmark case of Bradley v. Fischer, 80 U.S. 335 (1871). The Supreme Court made clear the proper penalty for being a bad Judge is suspension or removed from office, not a lawsuit.
Consider this extreme example, in the case of Robert King vs. Wade McCree, the United States Court of Appeals determined that (former) Judge Wade McCree was immune from a lawsuit even though he maintained a sexual relationship with a complaining witness in a felony child support cast he was deciding. Former Judge Wade McCree was removed from office, but he could not be sued because of judicial immunity.
The Friend of the Court is considered quasi-judicial and is afforded immunity as well under certain circumstances. For example, Michigan compiled laws section 722.625 provides immunity when the Friend of the Court acts in “good faith” in child abuse cases. Unlike judicial immunity, quasi-judicial immunity is not absolute and must be evaluated on a case by case basis. The Friend of the Court is provided immunity in
If you think you have a lawsuit because the Friend of the Court made an error in calculating support or you are entitled to a refund, you are probably out of luck. If the Friend of the Court acted negligently and causes personal injury or death, you may have a lawsuit.
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By: Daniel Findling