January 20, 2006

Onward and Upward

The Boston Herald and the Boston Globe reported this morning that the trial judge yesterday denied the Herald's request to vacate the jury's $2.1 million award in the libel action brought by Superior Court judge Ernest Murphy against the Herald and one of its reporters.

The paper's motion was based, at least in part, on the outrageous post-verdict letters Murphy sent to Herald publisher Pat Purcell, some of which were on court stationery, in which Murphy, in effect, sought to bully the Herald into paying him more than the jury award, and dropping plans to appeal. The judge apparently felt that vacating the award was too extreme, and that an assessment of Murphy's conduct was better left to the appropriate commission.

The judge left open Murphy's motion to freeze the Herald's assets, which is reportedly based on Murphy's concerns over whether the Herald's media liability insurer will make good on the judgment if it is upheld on appeal.

Nationally-known media lawyer Bruce Sanford will represent the Herald in its appeal.

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