Aron Can Revive Suit, Court Rules
From News Services and Staff Reports
A Maryland appeals court ruled yesterday that 1994 Senate candidate Ruthann Aron has the right to request a new trial after losing her defamation lawsuit against her former opponent, William E. Brock III, last year.
In a unanimous ruling, the Court of Special Appeals said the lower court judge should not have denied Aron's lawyers the chance to review a juror's notes on the trial, which Aron said were used to influence other jurors.
However, the appeals court stopped short of ordering a new trial for Aron, a Potomac developer.
She had sued former U.S. Labor Secretary Brock for defamation, saying he had made inaccurate and slanderous statements about her during their race for the 1994 Republican nomination. Brock won the nomination but went on to lose to Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes (D).
After losing her case in Anne Arundel County Circuit Court, Aron filed a motion for a new trial, saying that the juror should not have prepared notes and comments at home to share with other jurors. The motion was denied, and the court ordered Aron to pay the cost of attorney fees for filing the motion "in bad faith."
But the appeals court said yesterday that Aron should not have to pay the fees and that she should be allowed to request a new trial after the lawyers get access to the juror's notebook.
Aron, a member of the Montgomery County planning advisory board, is considering running for County Council.