Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery is fighting an attempt by the Philadelphia Inquirer to get a closer look at his finances in his defamation suit against the paper.
McCaffery and his wife, Lise Rapaport, are suing the paper for “false light defamation” for a 2013 article depicting how Rapaport accepted large fees from companies that later had business before her husband and the court. The stories touched off an FBI investigation and changes to court rules, but McCaffery and Rapaport denied wrongdoing.
Earlier this month, the Inquirer’s lawyers asked a judge to give them access to McCaffery’s finances, saying the information could offer proof for or against the justice’s proclamation he’d committed no wrongdoing in the case.
Today, the Legal Intelligencer reports that Dion Rassias, McCaffery’s lawyer in the case, filed a brief arguing againt the Inquirer’s inquiry.
According to the brief, the articles in question were published without fee amounts because that information is not disclosable.
“The defendants now are attempting to obtain in discovery what was never otherwise available to them,” the brief said. “Indeed, knowledge of the amount of referral fees could not be part of the thought process behind the writings at issue, and therefore, there is simply no relevance to the amounts.”
The brief noted that discovery had to be limited to information the newspapers had available when the articles were written, which is relevant to the defendants’ state of mind.
More to come.