Monday, February 8, 2010

Arbitrator Orders News-Press to Pay Ex-Editor's Legal Fees

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Perhaps Publisher Wendy McCaw and Ampersand Publishing, owner of the Santa Barbara (Calif.) News-Press,should have quit while they were ahead.

Less than a month after the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit sided with the publisher in an NLRB dispute concerning eight terminated editorial staffers (see "TUOL" post 1/28/10), arbitrator Deborah Rothman has issued a 68-page decision ordering Ampersand to pay the $750,000 legal bill of former editor Jerry Roberts and another $167,000 in arbitration fees and expenses.

Both parties agreed to binding arbitration after Ampersand brought a $25 million defamation suit against Roberts for comments he allegedly made about the paper purportedly in violation of his contract after his departure in 2006. Roberts quit over what he claimed was editorial interference by McCaw.

The publisher reportedly spent $2.4 million litigating the claim against Roberts.

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  1. I believe the binding arbitration was part of Roberts's employment contract, not a response to the various defamation suits.

  2. Here's the definitive compilation of News-Press stories:

  3. I couldn't help noticing that comments by Testy come in pairs.