Source: Associated Press | April 4, 2001

Anti-Defamation League Case Upheld

DENVER (AP National) -- A federal judge upheld a jury's findings that the Anti-Defamation League defamed a couple by publicly accusing them of being anti-Semitic, but reduced punitive damages against the organization.

U.S. District Court Judge Edward Nottingham said Tuesday that evidence was sufficient to support the jury's conclusion that the ADL ''acted recklessly in its efforts to publicize what it perceived to be anti-Semitic conduct.''

In April 2000, a jury awarded William and Dorothy Quigley $10.5 million in damages, saying the organization had gone too far in accusing the couple of anti-Semitism stemming from a dispute with their Jewish neighbors.

Nottingham reduced the amount the ADL must pay the Quigleys to $9.75 million. But Dorothy Quigley will receive interest that Nottingham estimated could add $545,000 to the total payment.

A statement from Long & Jaudon, the law firm representing the ADL's Mountain States chapter, promised an appeal, citing ''reversible errors made during both pretrial and trial proceedings.''

The Quigleys and Mitchell and Candace Aronson had been neighbors and friends in the upscale mountain community of Evergreen, 15 miles west of Denver. The Aronsons' large dog allegedly attacked the Quigleys' smaller dog, and a feud followed.

The Aronsons claimed the Quigleys made anti-Semitic remarks in telephone conversations on their cordless phone. The Aronsons overheard and taped the conversations, violating federal anti-wiretap laws.

At a news conference in support of the Aronsons, ADL leaders claimed the Quigleys were anti-Semites.

Nottingham reduced the jury award because the Quigleys had already received compensation from another lawsuit involving the wiretaps.

03AP-NY-04-04-01 1757EDT