Monday, April 4, 2011

UPDATE: Libeled Law Profs. See West Damages Go South

Taken in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in August...Image via WikipediaU.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Judge John P. Fullam has slashed the $2.5 million punitive damages awarded both to Leonard Sosnov and David Rudovsky to $110,000 apiece from their libel suit against West Publishing Corp., according to a story in today's Philadelphia Inquirer.

Last January, in Rudovsky & Sosnov v. West Pub. Corp. et al (Case No. 09-cv-00727-JF), Rudovsky, a civil rights lawyer and Senior Fellow at U. Penn law school, and Sosnov, who teaches at Widener law school, were each awarded $90,000 compensatory damages and $2.5 million punitive damages by a jury who found that West defamed the two men, who originally authored the legal publisher's Pennsylvania Criminal Procedure: Law, Commentary, and Forms (1991). [See "TUOL" post 1/20/11.]

Judge Fullam concluded the jury's punitive damages awarded far exceeded any damage to the plaintiffs' reputations and opined that the jury may have been overly influenced by the net worth of West, a legal publishing industry giant that produces law books, software, and legal forms books.

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