September 1, 2023

A Willkie pro bono team was recognized as a “Runner Up” by The AmLaw Litigation Daily in its Litigator of the Week column for the landmark win this week on behalf of Georgia election workers Wandrea ArShaye (Shaye) Moss and her mother Ruby Freeman in a federal defamation suit. The suit was filed in 2021 against Rudy Giuliani in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell granted Willkie’s motion for sanctions for Mr. Giuliani’s “willful discovery misconduct” after finding that he had given “only lip service to compliance with his discovery obligations.”  Judge Howell ordered the most drastic sanction: default judgment on all claims—defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, civil conspiracy—stemming from statements Mr. Giuliani made about Ms. Moss and Ms. Freeman to intentionally undermine the results of the 2020 presidential election. 

The milestone win comes after nearly two years of litigation in Willkie’s clients’ fight for justice, and was covered by dozens of global media organizations. The order leaves pending the amount of damages Mr. Giuliani owes, including punitive damages, to be determined at trial in the coming months. 

The Willkie team includes partners Michael Gottlieb and Meryl Governski, associates M. Annie Houghton-Larsen, J. Tyler Knoblett, Timothy Ryan, Logan Kenney, Maggie MacCurdy and Perri Haser, and paralegal Ann Staron. Co-counsel includes Protect Democracy and Von DuBose of DuBose Miller.

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