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Thursday, January 17 , 2019, 8:49 pm | Fog/Mist 57º


Judge Rules for Roberts in Santa Barbara News-Press Case

McCaw ordered to pay attorney fees and arbitration in long-running dispute.

[Editor’s note: Arbitrator Deborah Rothman reversed tentative findings in favor of former Santa Barbara News-Press editor Jerry Roberts and News-Press owner Wendy McCaw and issued an interim award denying all of each party’s claims against the other. An earlier version of the story below was incorrect.]

Former Santa Barbara News-Press editor Jerry Roberts emerged successful from his latest hearing, in which a judge ruled that News-Press owner Wendy McCaw must pay Roberts’ attorney fees and complete arbitration.

After issuing a tentative ruling in Roberts’ favor a day earlier, Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge James Brown on Wednesday carried through on his initial decision after hearing arguments from representatives of both parties.

Roberts resigned from his editorial position at the News-Press in 2006 and was sued by McCaw for breach of contract, spurring a tit-for-tat series of counterclaims, ending with McCaw countersuing Roberts for $25 million.

If McCaw appeals Brown’s ruling, her legal bills may increase even more, which some estimate total millions of dollars.

Brown refused to grant McCaw’s request to discount Roberts’ arbitrator, Deborah Rothman, who had made tentative findings in favor of each party but, after further review, ultimately issued an interim award denying all of each party’s claims against the other.

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