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Sixth Circuit Holds Trustee and His Attorneys Protected by Quasi-Judicial Immunity

The Sixth Circuit recently held that a trustee and his attorneys were protected by quasi-judicial immunity from claims of malicious prosecution and abuse of process. In Grant, Konvalinka & Harrison, PC v. Banks (In re McKenzie), Case No. 12-5874 (6th Cir. May 24, 2013), the trustee unsuccessfully brought turnover and avoidance actions against GKH. After the actions were dismissed, GKH sued the trustee, arguing that the trustee’s earlier actions were wrongfully filed and lacked a reasonable legal basis. The bankruptcy court disagreed and dismissed GKH’s claims citing immunity. On appeal, the Sixth Circuit ruled that a trustee is entitled to quasi-judicial immunity for actions taken on behalf of the estate that are within the scope of the trustee’s authority. Although the trustee may have filed the actions without a reasonable legal basis, he was acting on behalf of the estate and exercising his statutory authority when he brought the claims. Accordingly, the court affirmed the bankruptcy court’s decision.

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