Dueling Defamation

Nearly a year after Roger Clemens sued Brian McNamee in Texas, Brian McNamee has sued Roger Clemens in New York:

Roger Clemens’ former personal trainer – the man who ratted out the Rocket to the feds over alleged steroid use – is suing his ex-client for $10 million, claiming the former Yankee hurler defamed him.

Brian McNamee says Clemens libeled and slandered him in comments after the Mitchell Report on steroid use in baseball was published.

The summons, filed in Queens Supreme Court last week, demands Clemens pony up the massive payout for intentionally inflicting emotional distress on McNamee.

Oh, brother. I can’t find a copy of the complaint anywhere, but I’m struggling to think of anything Clemens has actually said that, even if it wasn’t true, would be defamatory with respect to McNamee. Sure, it’s been a bad P.R. year for McNamee — worse for Clemens, actually — but almost all of the actual statements about McNamee came from Clemens’ attorneys while Roger has mostly stuck to simply denying McNamee’s allegations and telling everyone how much of a family man he is. That may be a truckload of baloney, but it doesn’t strike me as enough to make a defamation case, and that’s even before you get into the state of Brian McNamee’s pre-Mitchell Report reputation, which wasn’t all that hot to begin with.

If anyone can find the complaint, by all means, help a brother out, but if not, I’m content to just put my head down on my desk and pray that this ugliness all goes away sometime soon.

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  1. Craig Calcaterra said...

    In the case of plaintiff’s attorneys filing tort claims like this, usually no.  It’s based on contingency (i.e. a cut of the proceeds).  No proceeds, no payday.

    Of course this case is different.  Given the affidavit that was filed last week in the Texas case in which the federal agent said that McNamee was compelled to say what he said about Clemens, I think the likelihood of Roger succeeding just went in the toilet.  It’s possible that this new suit is calculated to take advantage of that by creating a situation in which McNamee’s attorneys can go to Clemens and say:

    “look, you’re going to lose and lose badly in Texas, and that will humiliate you.  Even simply settling with us now will be bad for you, because it will obviously look like you’re doing it to avoid a loss.  We’re now suing you in New York to give you a chance to make a deal:  you drop your Texas lawsuit for nothing, and we’ll drop the New York lawsuit for a $X [with $x representing how much McNamee owes in attorneys’ fees to date plus a little something extra to grow on].  Both sides mutally declare a victory of sorts, and we end this mess.”

    Benefits:  Clemens can blame the cost and distractions of the New York lawsuit as his reason for dropping it while avoiding an embarassing ruling from the Texas court.  McNamee can pay his attorneys and maybe pay off a few bills, which mere victory in Texas would not have allowed.

    There may be a big flaw in there somewhere, but weirder things have happened.

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