Threatened with a libel suit, The Washington Post paid $30,000 to settle a complaint lodged by D.C. Superior Court Senior Judge Tim Murphy, according to the Legal Times.
The settlement stems from a series of Post articles and editorials claiming that Murphy in April 2001 ignored the pleas for help from a man who collapsed and died in his courtroom. On Aug. 10, the Post published a lengthy correction and a letter to the editor written by Murphy’s lawyer, Dwight Murray of Jordan Coyne & Savits. The correction stated that some of the accounts “incorrectly or incompletely described certain circumstances of the case,” including the fact that the man didn’t die in the courtroom and Murphy didn’t resign.
The Post also agreed to pay $25,000 to a charity selected by Murphy, plus $5,000 in attorney fees to Murray. According to an Aug. 7 letter from associate counsel Eric Lieberman to Murray, the Post made – at Murphy’s direction – a $25,000 donation to the North Country Ministry in North Creek, N.Y.
In an Aug. 13 letter addressed to his “colleagues,” Murphy boasted about how he took on the Post and won. Murphy’s letter, along with a copy of a Post letter laying out the settlement, was added last week to the record of a civil suit filed against the District by the family of Robert Waters, the man who collapsed in Murphy’s courtroom.