Hudak pulls suit against Tierney

Rival could seek legal sanctions

By Alan Wirzbicki
Globe Staff / October 28, 2010

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Two days after filing an unusual lawsuit seeking to force his opponent to stop running negative ads against him, a Republican congressional candidate yesterday withdrew the complaint.

Republican Bill Hudak, who filed the defamation suit against US Representative John F. Tierney Monday, said he asked Superior Court Judge Robert A. Cornetta to drop the matter yesterday because of a ruling Hudak said would make it impossible for him to prove his case before the election.

“I’m disappointed that we didn’t have a full opportunity before the election for the full truth to come out,’’ Hudak said.

But the abrupt reversal could cause problems for Hudak. Tierney’s lawyers could seek legal sanctions against Hudak for what they called a frivolous lawsuit. A spokeswoman for Tierney, Kathryn Prael, , said he had made no decision on the matter.

Hudak asked to dismiss the suit yesterday after Cornetta rejected his request to subpoena Tierney, an editor at the Lynn Daily Item, and other witnesses Hudak said he needed to prove his case.

Tierney, a Salem Democrat, is running for an eighth term representing the Sixth Congressional District, which includes Lynn, Salem, and Gloucester.

Hudak’s suit was a rare gambit, because political ads are rarely removed from the airwaves. The suit stemmed from ads the Boxford lawyer said misstated his position on mortgage interest deductions and other issues.

Tierney’s campaign has called the suit a political stunt, and his lawyers submitted transcripts of interviews of Hudak, press releases from his website, and other materials yesterday that they said substantiated Tierney’s ads.

In a statement released yesterday, Tierney said Hudak’s decision to drop the suit raised questions about his qualifications for office.

“It is important to make clear that Mr. Hudak decided to withdraw his lawsuit after we filed literally volumes of evidence documenting that Mr. Hudak’s radical written and spoken statements on the issues are true,’’ Tierney said in a statement.

“It is my genuine hope that the voters of the 6th Congressional District will ask themselves what Mr. Hudak’s decision to bring and then withdraw his lawsuit 48 hours after being confronted with his own words says about his judgment.’’

But Hudak, who has practiced law for 27 years, says he was not worried about the possibility of sanctions.

“There is no basis for sanctions whatsoever,’’ Hudak said. “He’s trying to gain political advantage out of his procedural court maneuver.’’

Alan Wirzbicki can be reached at