Ohio Jury Sides with Teachers in Defamation Case

September 14, 2009

Jurors in Cleveland, Ohio, say a pastor intentionally damaged the reputations of three Catholic school teachers after they were fired in 2006.

The teachers had accused the Rev. Thomas Weber, pastor of St. Bernadette parish in Westlake, of defamation, saying he trampled their reputations in meetings and in newsletters to parishioners to justify the firings.

A Cuyahoga County jury on Sept. 11 awarded the teachers $225,000 apiece.

Judy Hudak says she and the other teachers – Diane Nameth and Mary Jo Keane – feel vindicated.

The teachers say Weber portrayed them as being uncooperative and disrespectful.

A defense attorney declined to comment. It’s unclear if an appeal will be filed.

A hearing is scheduled for today to determine if the teachers should be awarded additional punitive damages.

Information from: The Plain Dealer, www.cleveland.com

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