Reister v. GardnerAnnotate this Case
In this case involving the proper scope of the litigation privilege in Ohio the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals affirming the judgment of the trial court granting judgment on the pleadings concluding that certain actions of the Certified Steel Stud Association's directors were protected by the litigation privilege, holding that judgment on the pleadings was inappropriate.
ClarkDietrich previously sued the Association alleging that the Association made defamatory statements about ClarkDietrich's products. William Gardner and Edward Slish (together, Appellees) were members of the Association's board of directors at that time. The jury returned a verdict in favor of ClarkDietrich. John Reister, who was subsequently appointed as a receiver on behalf of the Association, filed this action claiming that Appellees breached their fiduciary duties by mishandling the ClarkDietrich litigation. The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that Appellees' actions were protected under the litigation privilege rule. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the litigation privilege protects statements, not actions; and (2) the decision to grant judgment on the pleadings was improper in this case.