William Abramson
William Abramson ()

A West Palm Beach attorney is suing the Palm Beach Post for libel, claiming the newspaper recklessly published an article stating he had been disbarred.

William Abramson, a prominent traffic attorney, also named staff writer Andrew Marra as a defendant.

The article headlined “The non-2000 recount” published Aug. 21, 2012, referred to a controversial 2008 judicial election.

Abramson narrowly defeated incumbent Circuit Judge Richard Wennet. The election results led to weeks of recounts and legal challenges that were ultimately settled by the Florida Supreme Court, which determined Abramson should not be allowed to serve because his law license was under suspension for previous courtroom misbehavior.

In the article, Marra said, “Mr. Abramson was deemed the winner, though he was never allowed to serve because he had been disbarred,” according to Abramson’s complaint.

He is represented by personal injury attorney Daniel A. Zuniga of Palm Beach Gardens.

Abramson claims the disbarment statement was false and defamatory, subjected him to ridicule and distrust, and damaged his professional reputation.

He emphasized in the complaint that the Post previously reported extensively on his license suspension and subsequent reinstatement. The newspaper staff was aware or could have easily verified he had never been disbarred, nor did the newspaper print a valid correction or retraction, the lawsuit alleged.

Abramson is seeking general and exemplary damages for his loss of reputation and shame.

Post attorney L. Martin Reeder Jr. of Reeder & Reeder in Jupiter said there was no merit to the lawsuit.

“Mr. Abramsom lost his license to practice law for nearly a year as a result of two suspensions arising from separate incidents of serious misconduct. Although Abramson’s license was later reinstated after he demonstrated he was rehabilitated, the Florida Supreme Court found that he was ‘not a member of the bar’ and therefore could not serve as a judge,” Reeder said.

“In the context of the Palm Beach Post’s editorial, which is the subject of Mr. Abramson’s claim, the statement that he was ‘never allowed to serve because he had been disbarred’ was materially accurate,” Reeder said.