Houston Law Firm AZA Secures $1.1 Million Verdict in Fort Bend Libel CaseMay 5, 2011
HOUSTON – A Fort Bend County jury has awarded more than $1.1 million to the son of Fort Bend County Chief Deputy Sheriff Craig Brady in a libel case against a local newspaper and reporter.
Houston attorneys John Zavitsanos Todd Mensing and Kinan Romman from the complex commercial litigation law firm of AZA successfully represented Wade Brady in his lawsuit against the The Fort Bend Star and reporter LeaAnne Klentzman.
Jurors before Judge Thomas R. Culver III in the 240th District Court found that the newspaper and reporter libeled Mr. Brady in a Jan. 15, 2003, article by making false allegations about his behavior and falsely claiming his father covered for him when he was charged with a crime.
Attorneys for Mr. Brady argued at trial that the newspaper and Ms. Klentzman, a former Fort Bend sheriff’s deputy who ran for sheriff herself, claimed that Mr. Brady was guilty of a crime even though he was acquitted on the charge. Mr. Brady’s attorneys argued that this was the latest episode in a longstanding political feud in the sheriff’s office, and that Ms.Klentzman and the paper were on a vendetta against the chief deputy.
“This case was about a reporter and newspaper publishing false allegations to try and embarrass a family,” says Mr. Zavitsanos, who filed the lawsuit after the newspaper refused to print a retraction. “We are grateful that the jury has made the paper and Ms. Klentzman take responsibility for their words and actions.”
The jury returned the verdict in Wade Brady v. LeaAnne Klentzman and Carter Publications d/b/a The West Fort Bend Star, No. 03-CV-129531, late Friday, May 6, 2011, following two weeks of trial.
AZA is a Houston-based law firm that is home to true courtroom lawyers with a formidable track record in complex commercial litigation, including energy, intellectual property, securities fraud, construction, and business dispute cases. AZA is one of only 32 firms in the U.S. to be recognized as “awesome opponents” in a nationwide poll of corporate general counsel who were asked to name the law firms they hope their companies never have to face in court. In fact, AZA has been hired on many occasions by the same companies the firm has prevailed against at trial. More information about the firm can be found at www.azalaw.com.