A Massachusetts federal judge ruled that former state court judge Ernest B. Murphy can’t collect $6.8 million from the Boston Herald‘s insurance company. Murphy demanded the payment from Prince Lobel client Mutual Insurance Company, after winning a libel lawsuit against the Herald and collecting $3.4 million.
On July 1, District Judge Patti Saris granted the insurance company’s summary judgment motion in Mutual Insurance Co. Ltd. v. The Honorable Ernest B. Murphy. Mutual’s lawsuit in the U.S. Court for the District of Massachusetts sought a court order declaring it didn’t have to meet Murphy’s financial demands.
According to Joe Sano, “the ruling strengthens press freedoms.” The ruling also recognizes media companies’ rights to control defense and settlement under certain types of media policies “without concern that fear of bad faith liability will compel insureds or their insurers to settle defamation claims before they are reviewed under the stringent appellate standards designed to protect the press,” stated Sano.