Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Criminal Malicious Prosecution Cases in Texas Now Harder - Texas Supreme Court

Although not strictly an employment law issue, employers are sometime (in fact more and more it seems) confronted with questions of whether certain information should be presented to police or other law enforcement officials. One underlying concern has always been a suit for malicious prosecution. The law has been relatively clear that one would not be guilty for malicious prosecution unless it is shown that they presented information that they knew was false to the police. However, leaving that kind of determination in the hands of a third party fact finder is enough to discourage some from taking the chance. Last week, the Texas Supreme Court added one other barrier to a successful claim for malicious prosecution when, without hearing oral argument, it reversed and rendered a verdict favoring plaintiffs in a malicious prosecution case. King v. Graham (Tex. 11/7/03). In King the Court held that it was not only necessary to show the defendants had provided false information, but that the false information had been the reason that the prosecution action was initiated. Here, there was evidence that the prosecuting authority did not rely only on the defendants' information, so that it failed the necessary "but for" test.

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