September 23, 2011
A Bit More On The Rudovsky Case
I wrote a post a while back called The Rudovsky Case and Quality Control. The thrust of the case is that West Publishing (the defendant) libeled two authors, David Rudovsky and Leonard Sosnov, by updating their treatise called Pennsylvania Criminal Procedure in a very sloppy and unprofessional manner and placing their names on that update. West, of course, will dispute that and probably does to this very day. The opinion I express on West's conduct in the case is based on the statements made by West editors and others from depositions made in the case and the finding of liability and the award of damages. Those details are in the post listed above.
There is a bit of an update on the case. West filed a motion at the conclusion of the case asking for a judgment as a matter of law. The court denied the motion on March 30, 2011 and gave West the option of accepting a remittitur of $200,000 per plaintiff ($400,000 in toto), in which case, the accompanying motion for a new trial would be denied. Absent the the acceptance of the remittitur, the motion for a new trial would be granted (2011 WL 1155285).
The authors and plaintiffs as well filed a motion to reconsider the Court's March 30th order. They asked the Court to simply enter judgment in the reduced amount (the original punitive damages award was $5 million dollars, again the details are in the earlier post cited) so both sides could appeal if desired. The Court basically agreed and simply entered the order as requested (Memorandum at 2011 WL 1475981 and Order at 2011 WL 1399841). Oddly, none of this is making it into the Federal Supplement. I wonder why?
The case is now on appeal by both sides at the Third Circuit. Briefs have yet to be filed though they should be interesting. I assume the authors will argue that the award was too low. West will likely argue that the authors were not harmed in any way in any event, and should not get anything. I will report on this again after briefs are filed.
Hat tip to Michael Ginsborg for giving me those developments. [MG]