As Conrad Black (a.k.a. Lord Black of Crossharbour) awaits the outcome today of his resentencing hearing before U.S. Federal Court judge Amy St. Eve, who presided over Black’s original trial in 2007, another interesting development merits consideration.
According to various news sources, including The Canadian Press (via CTV News) :
Disgraced media mogul Conrad Black, who has seen his fortune nearly wiped out in his ongoing legal saga, will receive a handsome settlement for a series of libel suits.
His lawyer, David Jenkins said Thursday — the eve of his re-entering hearing — that Black has settled some libel-related lawsuits against his former associates at Hollinger International Inc. and the man who wrote the report that helped send him to jail.
“Hollinger International’s successor company, Sun Times Media Group, attached a substantial value to the libel action in the settlement figure that will be paid to Mr. Black,” Jenkins said in a statement.
Details of the settlement are not being disclosed until the settlements are granted approval in Delaware and Illinois.
Readers may recall Black’s libel action was the subject of a jurisdiction motion that ended up in the Ontario Court of Appeal: Black v. Breeden, 2010 ONCA 547 and was discussed in my previous posts here and here. More recently, the Supreme Court of Canada granted leave and the appeal was argued on March 21, 2011: Richard C. Breeden, et al. v. Conrad Black, et al. (Ontario) (Civil) (By Leave) 33900 with the Court’s decision currently under reserve.
Given that the litigation has now settled (pending formal approval), the Supreme Court of Canada’s much anticipated decision is now moot. It is likely that Black’s counsel will soon file a Discontinuance under Rule 93 of the Rules of the Supreme Court of Canada, SOR/2002-156 as amended by SOR/2006-203, SOR/2011-74. All is not lost, however, as the Supreme Court of Canada has also heard arguments on March 25, 2011 and reserved its decision in Les éditions Écosociété Inc., et al. v. Banro Corporation (Civil by Leave) 33819, which provides a welcome opportunity for the Court to clarify the law of jurisdiction in internet defamation or cyberlibel cases.
“U.S. Judge Amy St. Eve sentenced Black to 3 1/2 years in prison, but prosecutors say he will be given credit for the about two years he already had served. The resentencing came after an appeals court decision last year.” via Business Week: Read more
“Having already spent 29 months in jail, and with additional credit for good behaviour, Black is now expected to spend between eight and 13 more months behind bars. He can appeal the ruling, but it was unclear Friday whether he would.” via Winnipeg Free Press: Read More
According to the SCC Case Information Docket (and as I predicted):
|2011-06-22||Correspondence received from, Mr. Cherniak re: settlement underway, with cc. to all parties (sent to the Court June 23/11)||Conrad Black|
The National Post reports today on a dispute over the opposing characterizations of the terms of the pending out-of-court civil settlements (not yet memorialized) reached between Conrad Black and Chicago Newspaper Liquidation Corp (CNCL), the company formerly known as Hollinger and Sun-Media Inc.:
“Under the tentative settlement, neither Chicago Newspaper Liquidation Corp, nor the defendants in the defamation actions are paying anything to Mr. Black,” a New York-based lawyer who asked not to be named told the National Post.
According to the preliminary deals, Lord Black will receive money “from insurance proceeds that have been in dispute, as will the company,” the source explained. “Mr. Black will be dismissing and releasing all of his claims in his defamation actions, and neither the company nor the people he sued for defamation are paying him a penny.”
And apparently, there will be no apologies or regrets by anyone.
Not so, says the former media baron. During his 25-minute speech to Chicago Judge Amy St. Eve during his resentencing on June 24, Lord Black declared, “My libel suit, and several other lawsuits around this case, are being settled, including a sizeable payment to me on the libel claim.”
- Black to receive ‘substantial’ libel settlement (cbc.ca)
- Black to see ‘substantial’ payout from libel settlement (ctv.ca)
- Conrad Black to learn fate in U.S. court Friday (ctv.ca)
- U.S. judge to resentence Conrad Black (cbc.ca)
- Will Conrad Black go back to jail? (theglobeandmail.com)
- Conrad Black may escape more jail time Friday (ctv.ca)
- Conrad Black could avoid more prison time (cbc.ca)