A Texas Court of Appeals has ruled that a defamation suit may be brought by a former employee of Shell Oil for alleged false reports made by the company to government investigators that the employee had participated in FCPA violations. Writt v. Shell Oil Co., No. 01-11-00201 (Tex. App. June 25, 2013). The court held that, under Texas law, Shell’s communications with the Department of Justice (DOJ) were not absolutely immune to defamation suits. Instead, they were actionable if made recklessly or with malice, and if made prior to the initiation of criminal proceedings. By contrast, if the statements had been made in connection with ongoing criminal proceedings, they likely would have been subject to an absolute privilege against a defamation claim. Although criminal proceedings were later brought against a Shell subsidiary, the appeals court held that at the time of Shell’s report to government investigators, the prospect of criminal proceedings was too remote. Thus, under this court’s ruling, while good faith reports to investigators may be found protected, companies may be forced to litigate this issue.