Motions hearing set for Monday in Cueto suit against newspapers, columnist

Amelia Flood Jun. 26, 2009, 6:35am



Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder is scheduled to hear motions in a lawsuit filed by disbarred attorney Amiel Cueto against a St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist, his employer and five other defendants.

The suit, filed in August 2008, arises out of the Post-Dispatch's publication of a column by Bill McClellan entitled, "Amiel Cueto has a gift, or maybe he doesn't."

The McClellan column discusses a lawsuit brought by Cueto against the Record and, in particular, a hearing in that case in which Judge Vincent Lopinot recused himself.

Cueto claims McClellan conspired with six other defendants-the owner of the Post-Dispatch; the Record and its parent corporation, lawyers and insurance company; and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce-to place him in a false light and intimidate judges and witnesses.

Cueto is seeking compensatory damages in excess of $75,000 and punitive damages in excess of the same amount for each of the eleven counts in his complaint.

A June 29 hearing before Judge Crowder will address motions to dismiss filed by all of the defendants. Other matters set for hearing include a motion by Cueto to add to his pleadings a Post-Dispatch article that he claims supports his attempt to include Lee Enterprises, the Post-Dispatch's parent corporation, as a defendant.

The hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.

The case before Judge Crowder is one of several Cueto has filed over news articles and columns related to his 1997 conviction for obstruction of justice and conspiracy to defraud the United States. Cueto was later disbarred.

The Cueto suit against the Record that was the subject of the McClellan column was ultimately dismissed. Cueto has appealed the dismissal and a decision is pending.

Another Cueto lawsuit targets the Belleville News-Democrat, the Chicago Tribune and others for allegedly placing him in a false light by alluding to putative testimony about Cueto from his trial and related court proceedings.

Among other Cueto lawsuits is one against the Justices of the Illinois Supreme Court over his disbarment.

Cueto is representing himself in all of his cases.

Joseph Martineau is lead counsel for McClellan and Lee Enterprises in the case before Judge Crowder.

Michael Pope, Steven Pflaum and Russell Scott are lead counsel in that case for The Record, the Institute for Legal Reform, the Chamber of Commerce of the United States and McDermott Will & Emery LLP.

Gordon Broom and Elizabeth Gere are lead counsel for Executive Risk Indemnity.

The case is Madison County case number 08-L-775.

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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Organizations in this Story

Belleville News-Democrat
120 S Illinois St
Belleville, IL 62220-2130

Illinois Supreme Court
200 E Capitol Ave
Springfield, IL 62701

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