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In re Fine Paper Antitrust Litigation Law Firm of Sloan and Associates

UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT


decided: December 13, 1984.

IN RE FINE PAPER ANTITRUST LITIGATION LAW FIRM OF SLOAN AND ASSOCIATES, P.C. (FORMERLY SLOAN AND CONNELLY, P.C.), AND JAMES B. SLOAN, APPELLANTS

ON APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA.

Gibbons and Becker, Circuit Judges and Debevoise, District Judge.*fn*

Author: Gibbons

Opinion OF THE COURT

GIBBONS, Circuit Judge:

James B. Sloan and Sloan and Associates, P.C., in this appeal from a final judgment awarding fees from a fund in court, contend that the district court erred in denying their motion to strike from a pleading a sham and false allegation containing a defamatory statement about James B. Sloan. The motion is addressed to a single line in 522 page Report, which was filed by Weil, Gotshal & Manges in support of objections by class members to various fee requests. The Report quotes from a memorandum of a June 16, 1981 telephone conversation between Harold Kohn and Lowell Sachnoff, which attributes the defamatory statement to Sachnoff.

We hold that the district court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion to strike. The courts must for the most part rely upon the self-discipline of members of a learned profession for the avoidance of backbiting and the circulation of defamatory gossip. They must have discretion in determining when disputes over such matters are too trivial to warrant formal judicial attention.

The order denying the motion to strike will be affirmed.


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