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Lawyer Loses Libel Case

Pittsburgh lawyer Joseph Hudak says he will appeal after a federal judge this week threw out his libel case against the Erie Times-News newspaper, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. Hudak sued the newspaper saying five stories it published misrepresented his disputes with clients. But the judge found that the stories were substantially accurate and protected by the fair report privilege.

The news stories came after the Erie County district attorney charged Hudak with taking money from clients but failing to deliver promised legal services. A jury acquitted Hudak of one set of charges, three others were dismissed by a state judge and the fifth was withdrawn by the DA. Hudak asserted that the newspaper's coverage portrayed his civil disputes with clients as crimes "in order to write flashy headlines."

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2005 suspended Hudak from law practice for a year and a day, the Post-Gazette says, finding that he "neglected his obligations to clients in eight separate matters." He has not reapplied for his state law license, the report says, but he continues to practice in federal court. 

Hudak said he will appeal the dismissal of the libel case to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, where he is already appealing the dismissal in December of a civil rights lawsuit against the Erie DA.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on February 1, 2008 at 12:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)


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