Goldberg, Miller & Rubin attorneys, Richard Castagna, Matthew Moroney and Warren Holland, successfully defended a large insurance carrier against allegations of defamation, commercial disparagement, intentional interference with contractual relations, and civil conspiracy. The lawsuit, which was filed by a local chiropractor, alleged that the insurance company conspired to disparage the chiropractor’s reputation by making defamatory statements about the chiropractor and his business practices. The chiropractor claimed that his business suffered greatly after personal injury attorneys stopped referring patients to his clinics. He sought several million dollars in compensatory and punitive damages and made a settlement demand of ten million dollars before trial.
At trial, the chiropractor called numerous witnesses to testify including several personal injury attorneys who claimed that they stopped referring clients to the chiropractor’s business as a result of the insurance carrier’s alleged conduct. After five days of trial, and at the close of the plaintiffs’ case, the GMR trial team moved for non-suit arguing, among other things, that any alleged defamatory statements at issue, if made at all, were absolutely privileged. After lengthy oral argument, the Court agreed with the GMR team and held that a person cannot be held liable for statements made during the regular course of litigation, or for statements made in anticipation of litigation (like pre-suit settlement negotiations between an insurance company employee and a personal injury attorney). The Court granted the GMR team’s motion for non-suit and dismissed the insurance carrier from the case.