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Defamation Case Won... Stay tuned for Insurance DJ (PA)

October 28, 2016

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Character is much easier kept than recovered. ~Thomas Paine
Thus forms the basis of attorney Thomas A. Riley Jr.’s suit captioned <em>Riley vs. Philadelphia Media Inc. et al</em> in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas. Riley was a chairman of the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority board from 2007 to 2011. In October 2011, The Philadelphia Inquirer published an article by writer Tom Infield addressing corruption and misspent tax money at the Philadelphia Convention Center. The article suggested that Riley directed “secret legal fees” to his law firm and then covered up the bills. The Journal Register Co. East then published a follow up story that focused on Riley’s alleged misconduct.
Riley claimed he told The Philadelphia Inquirer that their allegations were false. Infield claimed he misunderstood. Riley claimed that Infield never vetted his article. Infield claimed that he issued a correction online to address the mistake. Yet at the end of these back-and-forth claims, the outcome was the same: Riley’s reputation was damaged. Clients, potential judges, and fellow attorneys alike questioned Riley’s integrity.
Riley then sued Main Line Media News, the Journal Register East, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com, the news outlets responsible for the publication of the damaging articles. The Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News, and Philly.com settled with Riley on confidential terms. Judge Angelo J. Foglietta then awarded Riley $1.5 million against Main Line Media News and the Journal Register East. Additionally, the defendants were ordered to remove the offending article within 10 days or be subject to a fee of $2,500 per day.
Riley’s attorney noted that this matter is not quite closed yet. The Journal Register East’s insurer has disputed its duty to indemnify its insured for the judgement leading to consideration of an action to seek recovery of the award from the insurance carrier by way of breach of contract or bad faith claims.  It is unclear if the defendants will appeal the order.
Thanks to Melanie Brother for her contribution.
For more information, contact Denise Fontana Ricci at <a href="mailto:dricci@wcmlaw.com">dricci@wcmlaw.com</a>
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