Monday, March 25, 2013

Johnson v. Queenan case brief

Johnson v. Queenan case brief
12 Mass. L. Rptr. 461 (Mass. Super. Ct. 2000)

Plaintiff in an assault and battery lawsuit arising out of an alleged party rape moved for summary dismissal of defendant's counterclaims for slander and abuse of process.

OVERVIEW: Plaintiff high school student delayed formally reporting her alleged rape, at a party, by defendant, and a grand jury declined to indict him. She then sued him for assault and battery, and defendant counterclaimed for defamation and abuse of process.

The court granted plaintiff's summary judgment motion dismissing those claims, in part because defendant failed to respond at all to plaintiff's motion. The court also noted, however, that all statements plaintiff made in the course of the police investigation grand jury proceeding were absolutely privileged, and that her statements to close friends, medical personnel, and her mother were protected by a qualified privilege.

Defendant's abuse of process claim required him to show a malicious or ulterior motive for plaintiff's lawsuit, and this he absolutely failed to establish.

OUTCOME: The court granted plaintiff's motion, because defendant failed to respond to her motion, because all of her statements were protected by absolute or qualified privileges, and because there was no showing that she brought the action with a malicious motive.

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