(CN) – A Texas judge can have an attorney deposed before potentially suing him for defamation, despite having failed to notify five judges also mentioned in the attorney’s allegedly defamatory e-mails, a Texas appeals court ruled.
Dallas attorney Cory Randall Johnston petitioned the Texarkana-based Sixth District Court of Appeals to stop Judge Carlos Cortez from interviewing him before possibly suing him for statements he made to the media, other attorneys and judges related to an official complaint he lodged earlier concerning Cortez.
Johnston argued that Cortez failed to serve a notice of the hearing to five judges who might be a source of the information that led to the attorney’s e-mails.
Judge Josh Morriss III rejected Johnston’s petition, saying the trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding “that Cortez did not identify any named judges as anticipated defendants, … that the deposition is necessary to avoid a failure or delay of justice and that the deposition’s benefits outweigh its burdens.”
Morriss added that the “testimony never accuses any of the judges of being a source of defamatory material. It simply says that they were mentioned in Johnston’s e-mails and speculates that they may or may not have been Johnston’s sources.”