WHEREFORE Plaintiff Peter Rose demands a money judgment against Defendant John Dowd for the amounts described herein and an award of punitive damages, together with costs and expenses, including attorneys’ fees, of this action, and such other and further relief as the Court deems just and proper. — Martin Garbus (pro hac vice pending)
Martin Garbus, a lawyer who has done his share of First Amendment defense work, now finds himself on the other side of the constitutional divide. According to an ESPN news story, Mr. Garbus is representing Pete Rose in a federal defamation suit against “John Dowd, who oversaw the investigation that led to Rose’s ban from baseball, for claims Dowd made last summer that Rose had underage girls delivered to him at spring training and that he committed statutory rape.”
“The complaint,” says the ESPN story, “was filed today in U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania. It cites a radio interview last summer with a station in West Chester, Pennsylvania, in which Dowd said, ‘Michael Bertolini, you know, told us that he not only ran bets but ran young girls down at spring training, ages 12 to 14. Isn’t that lovely? So that’s statutory rape every time you do that.’ . . . “
“The lawsuit also cites an interview with CBS Radio in which Dowd said, ‘He has Bertolini running young women down in Florida for his satisfaction, so you know he’s just not worthy of consideration or to be part of the game. This is not what we want to be in the game of baseball.'”
“Rose denied Dowd’s accusations. Bertolini has said he never made such claims. Former commissioner Fay Vincent, who was deputy commissioner at the time of Rose’s ban, has said that he did not remember such allegations. . . .”
→ Rose v. Dowd complaint here. The three claims for relief set out in the complaint are: (1) “Defamation per se“, (2) “Defamation”, and (3) “Tortious Interference with Existing or Prospective Contractual Relationship.”
→ Additional News Stories:
- Randy Miller, Pete Rose suing John Dowd for statutory rape accusations,” NJ.com, July 6, 2016;
- Debra Cassens Weiss, Pete Rose sues former Akin Gump partner for radio show comments, ABA Journal, July 7, 2016;
- Brian Baxter, Pete Rose (and Marty Garbus) Sue Ex-Akin Gump Partner, Law.com, July 6, 2016; and
- Greg Noble, Pete Rose sues John Dowd over allegations he had sex with underage girls, WCPO9, July 6, 2016.
Biographical Snapshot: Ever the maverick, Mr. Garbus has represented everyone from:
- the ribald comedian Lenny Bruce (Garbus was co-coounsel with Ephraim London in People v. Bruce),
- to a woman in a libel case brought against a Daily News columnist for allegedly claiming she faked a rape).
- He was on the brief for the Appellant in Jacobellis v. Ohio (1964) and was counsel for Viking Press in the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court in which the court dismissed a libel suit against a novelist (see New York Times, December 16, 1982).
- Nat Hentoff, “First Amendment Lawyer Punished,” Nevada Daily Mail, April 11, 1996 (“Garbus . . . followed his conscience to help someone he believed had been terribly wronged by a columnist and his newspaper. Let this be a lesson to law school students with a conscience.”)
- John Sullivan, “Columnist Wins a Suit On Articles About Rape,” New York Times, February 7, 1997 (“The woman’s lawyer, Martin Garbus, said that the judge’s conclusions were wrong and that the ruling could provide an opportunity for a successful appeal, though his client had not decided whether to pursue the case.” — The case was dismissed and no appeal was taken.)
- Martin Garbus & Richard Kurnit, “Defamation in Fiction: Libel Claims Based on Fiction Should be Lightly Dismissed,” Brooklyn Law Review (1985)