Judgment reduced against ADL
by Chris Leppek
Intermountain Jewish News
DENVER -- A U.S. District Court judge has lowered by $775,000 the defamation judgment leveled last year against the Anti-Defamation League, but the ADL is hardly seeing the post-trial ruling as a victory.
Not only does the reduction constitute a relatively small portion of the overall $10.5 million judgment, but the court's action earlier this month supported last year's jury conclusion that the ADL had "acted recklessly in its efforts to publicize what it perceived to be anti-Semitic conduct."
Asked for his reaction to Judge Edward Nottingham's reduction of damages, the ADL's attorney Joseph Jaudon said: "Disappointment, and a feeling that there were reversible errors both during pretrial and trial proceedings."
The case dates back to a series of incidents between bickering neighbors that began near Evergreen, Colo., nearly seven years ago. The accusation of defamation was brought by former Evergreen residents William and Dorothy Quigley, who claimed that the ADL, and area director Saul Rosenthal, publicly defamed them by calling them anti-Semitic. At the time, the ADL Mountain States chapter was speaking on behalf of the Quigleys Jewish neighbors, Mitchell and Candice Aronson, who were claiming a pattern of anti-Semitic harassment by the Quigleys.
In asking the court to reduce the damages, the ADL was engaging in a customary post-trial motion before taking the case to the next judicial level, the Denver-based 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which the human relations agency says it intends to do.
While both the regional and national ADL offices declined to comment on the recent ruling, the New York office did release a terse statement on behalf of Long & Jaudon, Denver counsel for the ADL, which noted, "We believe that there were reversible errors made during both pretrial and trial proceedings. Our clients have advised us that they intend to appeal the judgment."
Jaudon said he expects that his firm will soon file a notice of appeal and that a briefing on the appeal probably will not take place before autumn.
This story was published in the WashingtonJewishWeek
on: Thursday, April 19, 2001
and was last modified on: Mon, May 7, 2001