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Attorneys Cannot Divulge City Secrets in Libel Case Against The Valley Patriot, Judge Orders Mediation

Andover Attorney Peter Caruso representing The Valley Patriot

Andover Attorney Peter Caruso representing The Valley Patriot

“If Attorney DiAdamo is now stating he is ‘shackled’ and he cannot produce that evidence, it is not the courts obligation, nor ours, to give him the keys by granting an order of protection. If his client, the City of Lawrence has not given him a waiver of confidentiality, if he doesn’t have evidence to produce his burden in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, that’s not our problem. And it’s not the court’s problem. This case should never have been brought. He should have had a waiver before he filed his complaint. This case should be dismissed.”

JUDGE DENIES DIADAMOS
MOTION FOR SECRET TESTIMONY

Attorney William DiAdamo

Attorney William DiAdamo

In August of 2008 Valley Patriot publisher and 980WCAP radio host Tom Duggan divulged to his listening audience that Lawrence’s worker’s compensation attorneys William and Carmine DiAdamo were fired by City of Lawrence under then-Mayor Michael Sullivan.

Duggan also divulged the reasons for the DiAdamo’s being fired. They included the Sullivan Administrations belief that the DiAdamo Law Office had conflicts in a case they lost on behalf of the city.

DIADAMOS DEMANDED NAMES OF SOURCES,
SAID SOURCES RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR FIRING

The DiAdamos had defended the City of Lawrence and lost a worker’s compensation claim filed by former city worker Andrea Traficanti. Traficanti was the girlfriend of (now wife of) DPW Director Frank McCann, whom the DiAdamos had multiple dealings with.

After Duggan’s broadcast the DiAdamos demanded that Duggan reveal his sources on the story saying that those who “leaked” the story were the ones responsible for their firings from city hall, and that they would seek retribution against those responsible for their loss of income.

They also stated in emails that they would file a lawsuit against Duggan, his paper and the radio station if he refused to divulge his sources, saying that Massachusetts has no “shield law” protecting reporters confidential sources and that they could force Duggan  to reveal his sources in a lawsuit. 

When Duggan refused, DiAdamo made good on that threat and filed suit against not only 980WCAP and Duggan personally, but The Valley Patriot newspaper (which had no part in the radio broadcast) mccannandrea1as well as some of Duggan’s sources who came forward on their own.

After dragging out the case for nearly five years, William DiAdamo finally admitted in court last month that he cannot present a case against Duggan and the other defendants because he doesn’t have legal permission from the City of Lawrence to discuss the Andrea Traficanti case in public.

This is critical as the DiAdamos must prove Duggan’s radio statements were untrue (among other things). 

The DiAdamo’s loss of the Traficanti case is currently under appeal by the city.

No Permission? Request Secret Testimony

Over the last five years, the DiAdamos made several requests to the Sullivan and Lantigua administrations for a waiver of their client’s (the City of Lawrence’s) attorney-client privilege, so that they could discuss the Andrea Traficanti case in public and pursue a slander case against Duggan and others. 

Both Mayor Sullivan and Mayor Lantigua denied all of DiAdamos requests to waive confidentiality, yet the DiAdamos continued to pursue the case anyway knowing he was not allowed to discuss the Traficanti case.

Last month, nearly five years after Duggan’s broadcast, DiAdmo made a motion requesting that a judge allow him to testify in secret (called a protective order) about his involvement in the Traficani case. If granted it would mean DiAdamo can present his evidence against Duggan and the other defendants under confidentiality and cannot be cross-examined in open court because the information in his testimony will be sealed.

DiAdamo told the court that he cannot present his case against Duggan and the others without it.

Representing The Valley Patriot, Attorney Peter Caruso of Andover told Essex County Superior Court Judge Robert Cornetta that DiAdamo should have obtained a waiver of attorney client privilege before he filed the case, adding that if Attorney DiAdamo is shackled and cannot present evidence against Duggan, and cannot publicly discuss the Traficanti case, he certainly cannot present a case against Duggan and the Valley Patriot.

“The case from the beginning, we maintain, has no legs. Under the New York Times standard, under the standards of Massachusetts, the case just has no legs. Now, if the plaintiff (DiAdamo) had to show back in 2008 that it [Duggan’s statement on the radio] was false, then he should have had the ability at that time to show that evidence.”

“Mr. Duggan made a statement on the radio in 2008,” Attorney Caruso told the judge.

“Five and a half years later, here we are.”

“Now, if that statement is false, all we are asking for is some evidence. We have no evidence Mr. Duggan’s statements are false and, in fact, we have affidavits from people who worked in city hall saying Mr. Duggan’s statements are true.”

Andover Attorney Peter Caruso representing The Valley Patriot

Andover Attorney Peter Caruso representing The Valley Patriot

“If Attorney DiAdamo is now stating he is ‘shackled’ and he cannot produce that evidence, it is not the courts obligation, nor ours, to give him the keys by granting an order of protection. If his client, the City of Lawrence has not given him a waiver of confidentiality, if he doesn’t have evidence to produce his burden in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, that’s not our problem. And it’s not the court’s problem. This case should never have been brought. He should have had a waiver before he filed his complaint. This case should be dismissed.”

Judge Cornetta ruled on January 15, 2014.

“This, the following is therefore now ORDERED, The long pending prior motion before this Court regarding a waiver of attorney/client privilege [for the DiAdamos] is now denied, without prejudice.”

The judge also mandated that all parties attend court ordered mediation in good faith.

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Tom Duggan

Tom Duggan

Tom Duggan is president and publisher of The Valley Patriot Newspaper in North Andover, Massachusetts. He is an author, host of the Paying Attention TV/Radio Program, lectures on media bias and police issues, is a former Lawrence School Committeeman, former political director for Mass. Citizens Alliance, and a 1990 Police Survivor. You can email your comments to valleypatriot@aol.com.

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One Response to Attorneys Cannot Divulge City Secrets in Libel Case Against The Valley Patriot, Judge Orders Mediation

  1. Pingback: DiAdamo Files $5MIL Lawsuit Against Their Client, The City of Lawrence over School Building Lease | The Valley Patriot

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