11 Oct Paullin Settles Style Weekly Libel Lawsuit
News from April 13, 2010 Richmond Times Dispatch. Read article at RTD.
A trial that was set for the week of April 19th was settled in favor of Del. Joseph Morrissey, D-Henrico. Mark Paullin, a principal of Paullin Law Firm, said the settlement included “a full, unreserved and unequivocal apology” from Richmond’s Style Weekly. Just last week, Style’s publisher, Lori Collier Waran of Richmond did publish this public apology to Morrissey two years after the article ran.
So what was the lawsuit about?
It all started with an article called, ” Bunco Joe?” which appeared in Style back in April of 2008. The article that appeared in Style the week of April 2008 stated or implied that Morrissey, then having recently finished his first session as a delegate in the General Assembly, had committed illegal acts in connection with various business dealings.
In an effort to rescue his reputation, Paullin said Morrissey had initially sought from Style a formal apology, attorney fees, and a $100,000 donation to a charity of Morrissey’s choice.
Style did not entertain the offer at which point Morrissey sued the publication. Paullin said in a written statement, “He stood up to a billion-dollar corporation; he fought them, he never backed down, and he won a tremendous victory.” A supporting cast of bipartisan General Assembly members were lined up to testify that the article was damaging. Paullin also said that 50% of Morrissey’s present settlement will go to a charity or non profit group.
The defendants in the case were TWCC Holding Corp., Style’s parent company; editor Jason Roop and writers Amy Biegelsen and former Style writer Chris Dovi. Dovi was fired as a reporter for Style Weekly after a derisive email was sent in reference to a blind motivational speaker. He had resigned from the Richmond Times Dispatch.
Two years were spent on this case and the Paullin team as well as Morrissey were relieved and elated to have won this libel suit.