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Legal Ethics

Lawyer in ‘Invidious Personal Vendetta’ Ordered to Pay Prosecutors’ Defense Costs

Posted Apr 14, 2011 9:58 AM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A federal judge has ordered a Kentucky lawyer to pay the defense costs of two Kenton County prosecutors after suing them for false arrest and malicious prosecution in what U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman called "an invidious personal vendetta" that allowed attorney Eric Deters to make "libelous" statements in court pleadings for which he could otherwise have been sued.

Bertelsman said Deters, who filed the suit on behalf of a client, should have known that Kenton Commonwealth's Attorney Rob Sanders and his assistant, Leanne Beck, were "absolutely immune" from such a claim. Yet Deters not only filed suit, the judge said, but prolonged the "frivolous" litigation when it was obviously going nowhere, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer.

It appears, however, that Deters is not the only angry attorney in the Eastern District of Kentucky case.

"This is a rare occasion when I can hope my legal bill is very large," Sanders told the newspaper. "Until Deters' contumacious disregard for ethical standards gets more expensive than the parade of publicity stunts, these frivolous lawsuits will continue. I'm glad Judge Bertelsman recognizes these personal attacks and libelous statements for what they are."

The Business Courier notes that Deters had argued, in a court brief, that the law concerning prosecutor liability is being reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court and "ripe for change."

Related prior coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Did Lawyer Who Scored $11M Libel Win Sue & Serve Wrong Website?"

ABAJournal.com: "After Lawyer Loses Libel Suit re Prosecutor’s Twitter Posts, Each Vows to Ignore the Other"

Business Courier: "Attorney/WLW host Eric Deters wouldn’t take suspension quietly"

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