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Can you sue a Judge or the Friend of the Court? Judicial Immunity

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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I have been exclusively practicing divorce and family law in Michigan for over two decades.  The attorneys at Findling Law all share the core value of practicing law to help people navigate change in their lives, without compromising principles.  We specialize in high socio-economic, high-profile and high-conflict cases, while also working with clients of all backgrounds. We recognize that the most important aspect of the practice of law is the application of the law to your specific circumstances.

That is why we provide more free information on divorce and family law than any other Michigan law firm. We want to help you manage your situation. Allow our exceptional legal team to help you navigate the change in your life, without compromising principles.

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By:  Daniel Findling

 

5 thoughts on “Can you sue a Judge or the Friend of the Court? Judicial Immunity

  • You would have to be excluded as the father. If the custody case is in another State, I recommend contacting a lawyer in the State that has the case as each State is different. In Michigan, you can file a paternity action and obtain a DNA test to exclude you as the biological and legal father.

  • It is a shame that Friend of the Court cannot be sued. Just in a few cases among friends or relatives in my own circle, there are cases where the decisions of their employees are made strictly based on mood or gut instinct (“I’m going to make you PAY”), ignoring the financial guidelines (calculations) set by the State of Michigan. It is also negligent for them to put negative information on a credit report for back child support–this is not a loan or debt, but their excuse is that it is a “debt to society” (or, at least, that is one of the lies they are dispensing). If a parent is making agreed-upon payments on arreages, the court still considers it to be “in collection” and makes no effort to correct it to being “paid as agreed.” Especially given how bad Michigan’s economy is, FoC is doing nothing but showing extreme bias towards the non-custodial parent, forcing many of them to live in run-down rental housing and drive junker cars, two things most parents do not want for their children. Yes, FoC policy mandates one parent be in financial ruin through the inability to get good credit due to their meddling. FoC should not be “above the law.”

    • Hey Rudy we may not be able to sue but we can certainly replace politicians. We have to organize and march on Lansing Michigan our first target the attorney general. The attorney general is the the one who come up with these laws. If you know how to organize then we can get this done in making everyone know. There are over 800.000 people on child support these are potential voters.

  • I’ve had the very unfortunate experience of seeing first hand the operations of the Wayne Count Friend of the Court through trying to help a friend unravel 25-plus years of being on the non-custodial parent end of the system and ultimately finding out that he has overpaid his child support by nearly $50,000. I’m firmly convinced that the system is not only biased toward the non-custodial parent, but that it’s designed to keep these individuals–fathers, especially–in a low socioeconomic state, and in some instances, keep or put them in jail. It will bleed these individuals dry, hound them down, throw them in jail for the slightest misstep, and treat them like scum. The Wayne County Friend of the Court’s operating system is a disgrace. If you have an attorney, you get first class treatment. If you don’t, you may as well curl up and die. Clearly, those who have money get preferential treatment. If that’s not discrimination, what is it?

  • The people can not sue the foc ok but the people can vote out Judges and politicians. there are over 800.000 people on child support here in Michigan.We have the power to vote this crooked system down. Its designed to break up low income black and white families the friends of court make a lot of money off of regular citizens. Its time for a class action lawsuit and if that don`t work then we vote out the attorney general. If we can

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