Law 360 (paywall) reports that Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery has announced plans to sue the Inquirer and Daily News for libel. The announcement follows a series of articles that claimed McCaffery’s wife received fees for steering cases to personal injury firms.
The summons filed in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas by Justice McCaffery and his wife, attorney Lise Rapaport, comes in the wake of reports in June 2013 that the couple were under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for 19 referral fees Rapaport had received for cases she steered to several firms in the region.
Justice McCaffery and his wife were the subject of a series of articles in both papers in 2013 raising questions about referral fees Rapaport has received during her 16-year tenure as the justice’s chief judicial aide.
The Inquirer’s reporting said Justice McCaffery had presided over several cases while on the Supreme Court involving firms that Rapaport had received fees from. The reports noted, however, that there was no evidence that he had ever ruled as part of a case his wife had directly received fees from.
After the articles appeared, the court adopted rules prohibiting judges from hiring relatives or sitting on corporate boards. Law 360 says the defendants in the case are Interstate General Media, the parent company of the papers; Intertrust GCN, the company owned by Lewis Katz, a minority shareholder in IGM; Inky editor Bill Marimow; DN editor Michael Days; and Inky editorial cartoonist Signe Wilkinson. A spokesman for the company declined comment.
UPDATE 9:55 am: This post was updated to include Intertrust GCN among the defenants.