Former Charlotte judge sues fellow judge for defamation

Judge Kimberly Best claims colleague who reported alleged ‘assault’ defamed her
Judge Kimberly Best claims her colleague who reported an alleged 'assault' defamed her.
Published: Aug. 21, 2023 at 4:26 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A former Charlotte judge has sued one of her former colleagues, alleging she was defamed.

Kimberly Best, who served as a Superior Court judge until she lost her election in November last year, filed a lawsuit against Judge Lisa Bell, who retired from her post as a Superior Court judge after decades on the bench.

Best’s lawsuit centers around an incident that happened in July 2022 involving Best and a delivery driver. Specifically, the suit claims Bell defamed Best by reporting the incident to judicial officials.

“Defendant Lisa Bell did intentionally, negligently and/or recklessly cause the statements she made to become known by the publication of the false and defamatory statement, by publishing further defamatory statements against the Plaintiff relating to the facts of this complaint and/or republished by various news outlets, WBTV and CQ Times causing further harm to Plaintiff’s reputation personally and in her profession,” Best wrote in the lawsuit.

Best is representing herself.

WBTV first reported about the incident shortly after it happened last year.

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Judge Kimberly Best got into a heated argument with a delivery driver in the parking garage at the Mecklenburg County courthouse, according to multiple law enforcement narratives of the incident completed by courthouse security guards and deputies with the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office.

According to the narratives written by the security guards and MCSO deputies, the July incident started when Best tried to drive around a delivery truck that was parked at a loading dock and scratched her Porsche SUV.

A security officer who responded to the incident later described the situation as “out of control” in his narrative and said Best refused to leave, even after he told her to.

Another narrative written by a Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office captain included details of a phone call between the captain and Best.

“Judge Best said the delivery driver tried to take pictures of her vehicle but she blocked her by slapping at her phone. Judge Best also said, the delivery driver tried to take pictures of her vehicle tag and she blocked her from taken (sic) pictures of her tag as well,” the narrative said.

“Judge Best did say she force (sic) the delivery driver back after trying to take pictures of her tag.”

According to the captain’s narrative, Best said she wanted to file an incident report but then changed her mind.

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Bell is not referenced in any of the written narratives of this incident.

Reaching by phone for comment Monday, Bell declined to respond to the lawsuit.

“I am aware of the lawsuit but I have not been served,” Bell said.

Best did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment for this story.

WBTV has also learned Best is under investigation by the North Carolina Judicial Standards Commission related to this incident.

The commission is charged with investigating allegations of wrongdoing by judges.

It is not clear whether the commission—which, by law, conducts investigations in secret—has finished its investigation.