Miss. PI Firm Settles Suit Over Leaked Affidavit
A top personal injury firm in Mississippi has settled a $189 million lawsuit by a tire company that claimed a leaked affidavit disparaged the manufacturer and violated an employee agreement.
The case settled as jurors were being selected for the trial in Oxford, Miss., according to the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal and the Associated Press. The terms were confidential. The defendants were Farese, Farese & Farese, name partner John Booth Farese and Ocala, Fla., lawyer Bruce Kaster.
Cooper Tire and Rubber Co. had claimed the Farese law firm prepared an affidavit for a former employee claiming she was ordered to destroy company documents relating to an Arkansas lawsuit brought by Kaster, according to AP and a previous Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal story. The employee had signed a separation agreement barring her from making negative remarks about Cooper Tire. The company says the affidavit was false and disparaging.
The tire company claimed Farese gave the affidavit to another lawyer, who gave it to Kaster, who leaked it to the media, the stories say. The defendants denied they conspired to leak the document, and Kaster claimed the media already had the document when he obtained it.
The Daily Journal story says Kaster refused to shake the hand of a Cooper Tire lawyer as they were leaving the courthouse. “I’ll never forgive you for this,” Kaster reportedly said.