Lawyers for West Publishing are asking a federal judge to overturn a verdict of more than $5.1 million in a defamation suit brought by two law professors who claimed their reputations were damaged when West falsely identified them as the authors of a poorly researched treatise update.

“A $5 million award on these facts — facts that supported, at best, carelessness on the part of West — is, frankly, shocking,” attorneys James F. Rittinger and Aaron M. Zeisler of Satterlee Stephens Burke & Burke in New York wrote in their 45-page brief in Rudovsky v. West Publishing .