Bertsch v. Eighth Judicial District CourtAnnotate this Case
The Barton doctrine is extended to a court-appointed accountant in the capacity of a special master, thus requiring an individual to seek leave of the appointing court prior to filing suit in a non-appointing court against a court-appointed special master for actions taken in the scope of his court-derived authority.
Larry Bertsch and his accounting firm (collectively, Bertsch) were appointed as special master in a lawsuit between Vion Operations, LLC and Jay Bloom (the Lion litigation). The district court later discharged Bertsch from his duties as special master. When the Vion litigation was dismissed, Bloom filed the underlying complaint against Bertsch alleging, inter alia, gross negligence and fraudulent concealment based on Bertsch’s allegedly wrongful actions in the Vion litigation. Bertsch filed a motion to dismiss, which the district court denied. Bertsch petitioned for a writ of mandamus arguing, in part, that Bloom’s complaint was jurisdictionally improper because Bloom did not first seek leave of the appointing court before instituting the underlying action. The Supreme Court granted the motion, holding that Bloom must first have filed a motion with the appointing court in order to sue Bertsch personally.