Libel & Privacy InBrief

Settlement ends 14-year dispute between man and local newspaper

ILLINOIS — A man wrongly identified in a suburban Chicago newspaper after editors used his high school yearbook photo to accompany a story on a drug bust settled his defamation lawsuit against the paper in September.

Christopher M. Edwards reached a settlement with Paddock Publications, publishers of the Daily Herald in Chicago, said Joseph M. O’Callaghan, Edwards’ lawyer. The agreement ended a 14-year dispute between Edwards and the newspaper.

Because of the confidential terms of the settlement, O’Callaghan said he could not comment any further.

An e-mail sent to Daily Herald managing editor Eileen Brown was not returned.

The Herald used Edwards’ picture erroneously on March 28, 1991, after the Illinois State Police arrested another “Christopher Edwards” — Christopher A. Edwards — in conjunction with a drug sting the previous morning, according to a January 2002 opinion.

The paper printed a front-page retraction the next day.

Adviser dismissed from invasion of privacy, defamation lawsuit

CALIFORNIA — A lawsuit filed against a high school newspaper adviser after the paper named a student as a victim of Internet bullying has been dismissed in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Movie producer Lee Caplin and his wife Gita filed a $100 million lawsuit in April against a number of officials at the prestigious Harvard-Westlake School, including Chronicle adviser Kathleen Neumeyer, after derogatory and threatening comments about their son were posted by students at the school on a Web site devoted to his performing career.

The student newspaper at the private North Hollywood school published a story about the incident, reporting that law enforcement agencies were investigating and that the targeted student, who was named, had transferred to a school in northern California.

According to the Caplins’ complaint, the defendants’ actions constituted civil rights violations, invasion of privacy, defamation and infliction of emotional distress among other claims.

According to Neumeyer’s attorney, E. Randol Schoenberg, the complaint against his client was dismissed on Aug. 31.

The lawsuit against other school officials and parents of the students accused of the Internet harassment is ongoing.