LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Shegerian & Associates, Inc., a Santa Monica-based litigation law firm specializing in employee rights, has announced that it is representing famed columnist, cartoonist and author Ted Rall in his attempt to seek justice against the Los Angeles Times for defamation, blacklisting, wrongful termination and breach of contract.
Shegerian & Associates founder Carney Shegerian describes the case as a distinct violation of the labor code and an example of egregious wrongful termination coupled with public defamation.
Rall was hired by the Times as an editorial cartoonist in 2009 and published approximately 300 of his cartoons and more than 60 of his blog posts between 2009 and 2015. At no time during his employment was Rall disciplined or written-up and he was consistently praised for his work.
In May of 2015, Rall created, and the Times reviewed, approved and published, a cartoon titled, “LAPD’s Crosswalk Crackdown; Don’t Police Have Something Better to Do?” In the accompanying blog post criticizing the LAPD’s crackdown against jaywalking as reported by the Times, Rall referenced his own previous experience of being falsely arrested, unduly rough-housed and handcuffed by an LAPD officer allegedly for “jaywalking.”
In July, after the LAPD contacted The Times to question the accuracy of this cartoon and blog post, the Times decided to terminate Rall within 24 hours.
In his filed complaint, Rall explained that at no point did the Times allow him to speak to his regular supervisor, or to the editorial board to discuss his case. Shortly after the termination, The Times published a rare “Note to Readers,” indicating that the paper had doubts about the veracity of Rall’s blog post due to an audio recording they obtained of Rall’s original jaywalking incident. The note also stated that the Times would no longer be publishing Rall’s work.
The Times failed to follow the standard of procedure for authenticating evidence and thus did not have grounds to publicly accuse Rall of falsifying information on his blog entry. After the Times’ note was published, Rall took it upon himself to have the audio examined by experts. The enhanced version of the audio supported Rall's version of the encounter, and he presented this to the Times. Despite this exonerating evidence, the Times published yet another article further defaming Rall.
“The specific facts and circumstances surrounding this case may be unique, but what Mr. Rall has endured at the hands of the Times is actually a classic example of a large corporation not following its own rules, let alone the labor code – and subsequently taking steps to defame its former employee,” said Shegerian. “The Times' suspicions about the veracity of Mr. Rall’s blog post were unfounded in that they failed to properly investigate the accusations and refused to acknowledge proof that Mr. Rall’s blog post was, in fact, accurate. The public defamation and subsequent blacklisting of our client have added insult to injury. We look forward to making that point loud and clear during this trial.”
Rall is a New York Times Best-selling author of 19 books, Pulitzer Prize finalist, winner of the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Graphics, and twice the winner of the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for Outstanding Coverage of the Problems of the Disadvantaged. He is also one of the most widely syndicated cartoonists in the United States and is a past President of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists.
Located in Santa Monica, Shegerian & Associates is a law firm specializing in protecting the rights of employees who have been wronged by their employers. Richly experienced in labor and employment law and possessing an unparalleled success record as litigators (Carney Shegerian, Trial Lawyer of the Year Award winner for 2013, has won 73 jury trials in his career, including 31 seven figure verdicts), Shegerian & Associates is passionately dedicated to serving the needs of its clients. For more information about the firm, visit www.ShegerianLaw.com
Media Contact: To arrange interviews about this case with Carney Shegerian or Ted Rall, please contact Paul Williams, 310/569-0023, email@example.com.
(Case no. BC613703)