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Herald-Mail settles libel suit

September 02, 1999|By LAURA ERNDE

A Hagerstown woman who sued The Herald-Mail, claiming the newspaper revealed private information about her and her child in a 1996 Mother's Day story, has settled for $500.

"I think both sides were satisfied with the settlement," said Mary R. Craig of Baltimore, the newspaper's lawyer.

The lawsuit alleged that the story contained false information and was published without the woman's consent.

The story, published May 12, 1996, implied that the woman was incapable of taking care of her child, incompetent and immoral, she alleged in the suit, filed in Washington County Circuit Court.

The woman accused the newspaper of defamation, invasion of privacy and injurious falsehood.

As a result, the woman was embarrassed, humiliated and subjected to public scorn, the lawsuit said.

Since the story, the woman has lost income and her reputation in the community, and has suffered severe emotional distress, the suit said.

Craig said the newspaper did not admit wrongdoing by settling the case.

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The lawsuit had asked for $1.5 million in compensatory damages and $1.5 million in punitive damages.

The woman's lawyer, Charles Mentzer of Baltimore, did not return phone calls seeking comment.

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