Mass. High Court Punts On Defamation Immunity For Govs.

Law360, Boston (June 8, 2017, 5:31 PM EDT) -- The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on Thursday dismissed a defamation suit against a former governor over his ousting of an attorney who led the state's sex offender registry board, but declined to reach Deval Patrick's arguments that governors have absolute immunity from defamation suits.

Former Sex Offender Registry Board Chairwoman Saundra Edwards failed to plead facts that demonstrated actual malice, which was required because she is a public figure, the SJC said.

“Given this conclusion, we need not reach Patrick's argument as to the existence of an absolute privilege against defamation claims for a governor, or other high-ranking state official, for...

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