Tort Law

2 Law Profs Win $5.2M Verdict in Defamation Case Over Pocket Part Authorship


A pay dispute with two law professors concerning their longtime annual updating of a criminal procedure treatise they authored has proven costly for West Publishing.

After a four-day trial, a federal district court jury in Philadelphia last week awarded the two profs a total of nearly $5.2 million, reports the Legal Intelligencer in an article reprinted in New York Lawyer (reg. req.).

The verdict included $90,000 each in compensatory damages and $2.5 million each in punitive damages for David Rudovsky of the University of Pennsylvania and Leonard Sosnov of Widener University.

As detailed in an earlier ABAJournal.com post, the two profs contended that their reputations had been damaged because West, after they refused in 2008 to keep compiling an annual update for the treatise unless West increased the ante, published a shoddy version of the 2008 pocket part that still listed them as the authors.

The legal publication wasn’t able to reach West’s lawyer, James Rittinger of Satterlee Stephens Burke & Burke, for comment. The plaintiff professors were represented by Richard Bazelon, of Bazelon Less & Feldman.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Now at Trial, Law Profs Win Initial Round in Pocket Parts Suit: If Defamation Is Proved, It’s Per Se”

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