Fifth Circuit Boots Defamation Suit by Lawyers Against Litigation Support Specialists Who Claimed to Have “Kicked Ass”

libel-and-slander (1)In Herman v. Cataphora, Inc., the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit dismissed a defamation claim brought by New Orleans lawyer Russ M. Herman and Philadelphia lawyer Arnold Levin against litigation support company Cataphora, Inc., and its former counsel Roger Chadderdon. Cataphora provided litigation support services to the MDL Steering Committee in the Chinese Drywall MDL, which included Herman and Levin. After the steering committee terminated the contract, Cataphora sued its members for breach of contract in California and won. Cataphora’s counsel, Roger Chadderdon, boasted about the victory in this Above the Law article:

These guys are the worst of hypocrites that you can possibly find. They claim to be trying to help the little guy, but what they’re doing is trying to put more money in their own pockets. Everybody knows that, but this is a case that illustrates it beyond what I have ever seen. . . .

[W]e kicked their ass.

Herman and Levin thereafter sued the Cataphora and Chadderdon, California residents, in United States district court in New Orleans for these allegedly defamatory comments. On September 17, 2013, the Fifth Circuit transferred the suit to the Northern District of California for lack of personal jurisdiction: “Without a showing that the statements’ focal point was Louisiana, which Herman and Levin have failed to make, the district court lacked personal jurisdiction over the Defendants.”

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