Trials & Litigation

Lawyer who won $390K for clients at trial must pay $11K for alerting media about case

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An Ohio lawyer is appealing a judge’s order requiring him to pay $11,000 to the defense, after winning $390,000 for the plaintiffs in a tort case, because he alerted a newspaper about the lawsuit.

Attorney Peter Pattakos was sanctioned for telling a friend who is a Cleveland Scene editor about the case; as it happened, the alternative weekly published a story the same day jury selection began in the case last year, reports

At issue in the case was whether a school for nannies covered up a former student’s claim that a client sexually abused his daughter and fired an employee for refusing to discredit the woman who made the claim. Although some jurors saw the Cleveland Scene headline, it didn’t affect their judgment in the case, they said.

Pattakos argued that the public had a legitimate need to know about the case. However, senior Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Burt Griffin disagreed, characterizing the lawyer’s alert to the media as “frivolous conduct” that was intended to discredit the defense.

The $11,000 represents the cost to the defense of questioning jurors and bringing a sanctions motion.

Related coverage: “Former student, employee awarded $392,000 in case against Chagrin Falls nanny school” “Attorney in ‘nanny school’ sex abuse lawsuit may face sanctions for contacting media”

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