CLAYTON, Mo. – Metro claims that bad press – not the evidence – was the cause of its landmark loss in St. Louis County Court on Nov. 30, 2007. Metro received nothing in its $81 million suit against the designers of the MetroLink expansion project, and was ordered to pay $2.56 million in damages.
In a series of filings since the loss, Metro claims the defendants waged a negative media campaign, and asked Presiding Judge Carolyn Whittington to question jurors whether they were affected by media reports.
Metro also says the defendants broke a confidentiality agreement and court order by disclosing details of mediation talks regarding $27.3 million in attorneys’ fees the defense counsel is asking Metro to pay. Metro claims that because of the misconduct, it should not have to pay the costs.
Metro says the St. Louis Business Journal and St. Louis Post-Dispatch printed inaccurate details of mediation talks, which were under a court gag order. KTVI, St. Louis’ Fox affiliate, also ran a story during the trial portraying Metro’s former CEO in a negative light. Metro claims the attention could have affected the jury.
Roger Edgar, an attorney for the defense team, claims Metro is using a “classic sandbagging technique” of letting items go while they are happening and then complaining about them afterwards. “Defendants have no control over the media and it is ridiculous to contend otherwise,” Edgar wrote.
The trial was the longest and most expensive trial in St. Louis County history, lasting from August to November. Metro is St. Louis’ largest public transportation agency. Metro’s CEO was removed and its top attorney resigned after the loss.