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News Reports on Warring Attorneys Called Libelous

CHICAGO (CN) - Claiming that the New York Post has agreed to delete its coverage, a lawyer filed suit against legal blogs that she says castigated her as a cat killer.

The suit Marie Napoli filed on Oct. 30 in Cook County Circuit Court says the trouble started with articles that the Post began posting in November 2014.

These articles "were replete with false and defamatory factual statements concerning [Napoli's] professional and private lives," the complaint states.

Napoli does not name the Post as a defendant, however, claiming that it "has acquiesced to Marie's request and has deleted or is in the process of deleting the offending content from its print and digital platform."

A search of the Post's online archive on Nov. 3 shows that it names Marie Napoli in seven still-active articles. The first appeared on Nov. 9, 2014, and the most recent ran this past July.

Napoli's saga stemmed from the feud between the partners at her husband's law firm, Napoli Bern Ripka Shkolnik. The lucrative personal-injury firm shuttered this past August under a settlement, the New York Law Journal reported.

Napoli says she runs her own firm, which has offices in Chicago, but that clients have been put off by the untrue statements they read about her on the Internet.

Above the Law reported, for example, "that Marie killed one of her husband's former employee's cat, and that she stalked or harassed that former employee via e-mail and regular mail," according to the complaint.

These statements also appeared in The Telegraph, the Daily Mail and Mail Online, Napoli says.

An online blog called Just not Said took the story a step farther, titling its article, "Sociopath Alert," according to Napoli's complaint.

In addition to hurting Napoli's feelings, the articles "have had a serious detrimental impact on her family," the complaint states.

"Marie has received death threats and two of her young children were tormented socially and have suffered scholastically," the complaint continues.

Napoli says all of the bloggers "knew or should have known that the defamatory statements were false at the time [they] made them or acted with reckless disregard as to their truth or falsity."

The lawsuit names as defendants Google and nine other entities that Napoli says either own the news outlets that reported on her or host their websites.

These defendants include Breaking Media, Associated Newspapers, Telegraph Media Group and Akamai.

Each has refused Napoli's demands to permanently delete "the offending content," according to the complaint.

Napoli was named as the defendant to a summons with notice for defamation that former Napoli Bern attorney Vanessa Dennis filed in New York last year. Dennis named the firm and its warring named partners, Paul Napoli and Marc Bern, as defendants as well.

Law360 reported this summer that the Napolis have countered that Dennis is bound by an arbitration agreement.

In the new Cook County action, Napoli is represented by Jeffrey Javors. The Chicago attorney was not available to comment on the lawsuit, which seeks an injunction requiring the removal of all posts including defamatory statements about Napoli.

Napoli also alleges defamation and interfering with prospective business relationships.

None of the defendants returned requests for comment.

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