Judge Rules That John Wiley Price Can Take County Judge Jim Foster's Deposition
|Dallas County Judge Jim Foster|
In the Foster matter, Judge Ken Tapscott of County Court No. 4 ruled that "the benefits of allowing the requested deposition to investigate this potential claim outweigh the burden or expense of the procedure itself." Yet he limited the oral deposition of Foster to two hours, and ordered that it take place within the next 30 days.
The court allowed Price to subpoena four out of the six documents he requested, including "all documents supporting [Foster's] contention" in a February 19, 2008, Observer article that "[Mr. Price] almost hit [Mr. Foster]"; and "all documents supporting Foster's contention Mr. Price's position with respect to the Inland Port '[is]all about a shakedown.'" The decision came earlier this afternoon, although the hour-long hearing regarding Price's petition occurred yesterday morning.
During the hearing, Foster's lawyer, Christopher Weil, asked that the court dismiss "this anticipatory or cautionary pleading," arguing, among other reasons, that Foster was immune from suit under the doctrine of judicial immunity "as long as those statements are not made with malice."
Price's lawyer, Mark D. Johnson, countered that the deposition was necessary to determine whether Foster was speaking within his official capacity or out of malice.
"We understand that we would have to find malice, but without speaking with Judge Foster, we can't make that determination," said Johnson.
The judge began yesterday's scheduled 8 a.m. hearing 20 minutes late. When he appeared, Tapscott explained that the motions in this high-stakes case required additional time to review before the hearing.
"I'm not trying to nit-pick it," Tapscott said. "But this is a rather big issue, wouldn't you agree? These are two of Dallas County's leaders. So I went through this very, very closely."