A Chicago parent accused of defaming a high school baseball coach who cut his son from a team has been ordered to pay nearly $800,000 in damages.
A Cook County jury awarded the coach, Brad Esposito, $793,333 in damages for defamation on Jan. 13. As a coach at De La Salle Institute in Chicago in 2000, Mr. Esposito cut John E. Mayer’s son from his baseball team before the team played in the state playoffs.
In a lawsuit, Mr. Esposito accused the parent of engaging in a campaign to get him fired. The coach claimed that Mr. Mayer, a clinical psychologist and the author of a book about Little League coaching, wrote a fake press release in 2002 that he sent to Chicago papers accusing the coach of inappropriate behavior.
Larraine Granger, Mr. Mayer’s lawyer, said last week that there was no evidence to prove that her client sent the press release. She said that she would immediately appeal the decision, which she called “outrageous.”
Mr. Esposito, who voluntarily switched jobs, now coaches at another Chicago-area school. His lawyer could not be reached for comment.
A version of this article appeared in the January 26, 2005 edition of Education Week