Local attorney Edward S. Lomanto has settled his libel suit against The Leader-Herald newspaper for an undisclosed sum.
Lomanto’s attorney, Robert Abdella of the Abdella Law Firm, said Tuesday he and his client are satisfied with the settlement terms.
The newspaper published a story on Feb. 6, 2007, erroneously reporting that Lomanto, a former city attorney, was sentenced to 20 days in jail on a guilty plea to driving while ability impaired. A reporter apparently mistook the judge’s decision to grant Lomanto a 20-day stay on the suspension of his driver’s license as a 20-day stay in jail.
Leader-Herald Publisher Patricia Beck declined comment Wednesday. The paper’s attorney, S. Paul Battaglia of the Syracuse firm of Bond, Schoeneck & King, was out of the office Wednesday, a firm staff member said.
“The case has been settled and has been resolved to our satisfaction,” Abdella said.
While Abdella would not disclose a dollar figure, he said, “it wasn’t settled for zero.”
The settlement followed a recent decision by acting state Supreme Court Judge Richard C. Giardino struck down one of grounds for Lomanto’s suit but ruled Lomanto could proceed with his action on the legal principle of simple libel.
The newspaper story had a headline,” Ex City Attorney Gets Jail Term in DWAI Case.”
The mistake was caught almost immediately after newspapers were distributed. Legal papers in the case detail how the newspaper staff retrieved most of that edition. The story was also briefly posted on the paper’s Web site.
Lomanto was arrested in December 2006 on a charge of driving while intoxicated after a purported confrontation with former city Councilwoman Lou Ann Warren as Lomanto was attempting to get into his vehicle after an Eccentric Club Christmas party.
In his ruling, Giardino said Lomanto may have an argument that the headline and the story could influence readers to have an adverse opinion of Lomanto as a lawyer. Lomanto alleged the article damaged his professional reputation.