Pinal County v. Cooper (CA1 10/20/15)

We’re not going to do a full review of this for one or more reasons set forth in our FAQ. And because behind the scenes it comes too close to being a political case, which perhaps helps explain the reasoning and the result. The court grants immunity to a government official by distinguishing between “actual” and “subjective” malice on the one hand and “objective malice” on the other. Why the court relegates an important part of the analysis to a footnote is unclear. The bottom line is that if lawyers have thought up adequate excuses for a bureaucrat’s actions, and perhaps if they haven’t,  then his actual motivation and intention are beside the point. Also that calling another person “crazy” is now mere hyperbole and cannot support a defamation action, though another unclear thing is whether that’s a matter of law or an appellate-court finding of fact.

We suggest, though, that the court wipe all metadata from its pdf files before posting them. We all know how these things really get done but appearances are important.

(link to opinion)