Paul L. Caron

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Judge's Jokes Fall Flat in Hearing on Law Profs' $5.2m Verdict v. West

Rudovsky Book I previously blogged the $5.2 million awarded by a federal district court jury to Law Profs David Rudovsky (Penn) and Leonard N. Sosnov (Widener) in their lawsuit against West, in which they claimed that they were falsely identified as the authors of a poorly researched “sham” supplement to their treatise, Pennsylvania Practice: Criminal Procedure Law, Commentary and Forms. From the ABA Journal:

A lawyer for West Publishing didn’t see the humor when a federal judge hearing a motion to set aside a nearly $5.2 million defamation verdict tried to lighten the proceedings.

New York lawyer James Rittinger is asking the judge to overturn or reduce the award to two law professors who said they were defamed when West identified them as the authors of a pocket part that was written by a first-year lawyer. ...

When Rittinger said the professors didn’t have “a single case” to back up one of their arguments, Fullam asked, “What about married cases?” When Rittinger objected to the size of a punitive award, Fullam asked, “You think it should be increased?" ...

"Judge, you know, I guess it's funny, but it's not funny to me. It was a shock, and it should not have happened. So it is not a joking matter to the West Corporation," Rittinger said.

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It is ALWAYS good form for an attorney to tell a Federal judge what should or should not have happened and to criticize the judge in the same breath.

Of course, I am curious if this judge presided over the trial, but it would seem not to be the case as by the time of a post-judgment motion an attorney should have a good sense of the judge.

Posted by: tax guy | Mar 20, 2011 12:30:12 PM