Rudy Di Trapano sues The Record

by Steve Korris |
Sep. 7, 2006, 12:00pm

MADISON - Charleston attorney Rudolph L. DiTrapano has sued The West Virginia Record in Boone Circuit Court, claiming the newspaper invaded his privacy and intentionally inflicted emotional distress on him.

DiTrapano accused The Record of falsely implying a connection between him and alleged criminal conduct of his son, Dante DiTrapano.

In the complaint Rudolph DiTrapano wrote that Dante DiTrapano was arrested March 16 in Florida and charged with possession of illegal contraband.

Rudolph DiTrapano alleged that The Record used that "tragic circumstance" to perpetrate a malicious campaign to injure him by falsely suggesting to readers that "this family tragedy instead should be viewed as an indictment of the plaintiff for complicity in criminal conduct. …"

He wrote that he suffered anguish, shock, horror, shame, humiliation, embarrassment, anger, chagrin, annoyance and emotional distress.

He filed the suit Aug. 25, but not in his own name. The complaint named RLD Enterprises as plaintiff. He filed the suit "pro se," as his own attorney.

He filed an amended complaint Aug. 31, naming himself as plaintiff.

He again listed himself as attorney pro se, but attorneys Timothy Barber and Andrew MacQueen of Charleston also signed the complaint.

DiTrapano named Chris Dickerson, who is described as "the agent and servant of The Record," as first listed defendant.

He named Stanton Anderson next, identifying him as President of The Record, senior counsel to the president of the United States Chamber of Commerce and Dickerson's supervisor.

He wrote that Chamber of Commerce managers "created the West Virginia Record to portray and defame lawyers who represent consumers and plaintiffs in general, and Plaintiff in particular, in a negative, false light."

He alleged that the defendants' publications were "a degenerative exercise of their malice and hatred toward lawyers who represent consumers."

He called The Record's behavior "demented and deplorable" and its publications "sick and depraved."

DiTrapano's complaint seeks compensatory and punitive damages. He ended it with a pledge to donate all monies to West Virginia charities and nonprofit organizations.

Rudolph DiTrapano is a former chairman of the West Virginia Democratic Party.

His firm, DiTrapano, Barrett & DiPiero, has served as special counsel to Attorney General Darrell McGraw in three lawsuits. The firm has received almost $1.4 million in settlements of those suits.

The complaint alleges that, "Plaintiff is not a public figure." It also alleges that The Record "discussed matters about Plaintiff in which the general public had no legitimate interest."

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