Update: ABA Journal settles “fixer” libel case

The American Bar Association Journal will publish a half-page apology, as well as pay an undisclosed sum, to settle attorney Richard A. Sprague’s claim that he was defamed when the magazine described him as “perhaps the most powerful lawyer-cum-fixer” in the state of Pennsylvania. (Dec. 5-6, 2001) Although the word “fixer” is widely employed to describe political wheeler-dealing of a lawful sort, a judge had ruled that it might also convey the impression that Sprague improperly “fixed” court cases. “In its answer to the suit, the ABA attached a list of more than 100 examples of prominent lawyers described as ‘fixers’ in such publications as The New York Times and the Washington Post.” (Shannon P. Duffy, “ABA, Sprague Agree to Settlement”, The Legal Intelligencer, Nov. 21).

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