Gordon Maag drops $110 million defamation suit

Ann Knef Apr. 12, 2007, 8:00am

Gordon Maag

Gordon Maag has dropped his $110 million federal defamation lawsuit against the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce and a slew of other defendants, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Maag, a former appellate court justice who lost a retention election in November 2004, as well as a bid for a seat on the Illinois Supreme Court, filed notice of dismissal under Rule 41 with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois on Wednesday.

He first sued his detractors in state court over campaign flyers he claimed were false, inaccurate, incomplete and erroneous. He claimed a flyer entitled, "In Southern Illinois the 'Wheels of Justice' have ground to a screeching halt" cost him the election and future income.

Maag, a Democrat, lost to Republican Lloyd Karmeier in a contentious battle. At a cost of $9 million, the race was the most expensive state supreme court race in the country's history.

The federal court suit was filed after Maag's state court was tossed by a Springfield judge.

The Fifth Appellate Court in November upheld the lower court's dismissal, ruling that critical statements made in a campaign flyer were "nonactionable opinion and not fact."

Maag's federal court lawsuit had been stayed pending the disposition of his appeal.

The Illinois Supreme Court has denied Maag's petition for leave to appeal.

Maag's federal lawsuit also named Ronald Gidwitz, Gregory Baise, Illinois Coalition for Jobs, Growth and Prosperity, Illinois State Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Manufacuring Association, Illinois Civil Justice League, Illinois Business Roundtable and IMA Service Corp. as defendants.

Maag also named the American Tort Reform Association, Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, Ed Murnane, Jeffrey Mays, Gerald Roper, Douglas Whitley, Murphy, Pintak, Gautier, and Hudome Agency, Alfano Communications, Mentzer Media, John Pastuovic Communications and TC Marketing as respondents in discovery.

The Madison County Record is owned by the Institute for Legal Reform, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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