The Supreme Court will decide whether government officials who testify falsely while acting as a complaining witness have absolute immunity from civil lawsuits.
The high court on Monday agreed to hear an appeal from Charles Rehberg, who sent faxes criticizing the Phoebe Putney Health System, an influential Georgia hospital system. Rehberg was arrested after investigator James Paulk of the Dougherty County District Attorney's office testified to a grand jury that the accountant had harassed doctors.
Paulk, who started the investigation as a favor to hospital officials, later admitted he had no evidence and had not talked to any witnesses. The charges were dismissed.
Rehberg sued, but Paulk says he is protected by immunity because the claims took place while he was working as a government official.