Judge Didn't Have Judicial Immunity for Firing

The Tennessee Supreme Court decided an interesting case earlier this week, when it considered whether a newly elected judge could raise the defense of judicial immunity in an effort to defeat a tortious interference with employment lawsuit filed by a terminated judicial assistant. The Court ultimately said no.
The underlying facts show that the Plaintiff had been a judicial assistant with a former judge in Knox County. However, said judge lost his reelection bid. The newly elected judge told the Plaintiff that she was let go and HR issued her a separation notice shortly thereafter. Well, the Plaintiff sued, creatively arguing that the new judge tortiously (i.e. wrongfully) interfered with her employment with the prior judge.
The Plaintiff argued that the timing of her firing was crucial. Seemingly although the new judge could have fired her after he took office as he was permitted to choose his staff, he actually fired her during the interim period of time between his election victory and the swearing in ceremony. In other words, he wasn't actually a judge when he told HR to let her go. Further, he wasn't even her employer – the prior judge was. In other words, the newly elected judge was merely a third party interfering with the Plaintiff's employment with the prior judge.
This argument was enough for the Tennessee Supreme Court, which found that the timing of the firing was crucial. When the new judge acted, he did so as a private citizen, not in his capacity as a judge (as he wasn't yet one), and not as the Plaintiff's employer. The Court allowed the case to go forward. As time passes it will be interesting to see what damages the Plaintiff suffered (presuming she wins) given that her job seemingly could have been terminated a few days later after the swearing in ceremony took place.
Although this case will likely never impact the average person, it does highlight a few key points to remember. First, details, contracts, or laws can never be read too carefully when making crucial decisions. And second, if you are facing a problematic situation, engaging competent and creative counsel is important.