Lawyer for former Clemens trainer McNamee looking forward to lawsuit in NY, not Texas

By Michael Graczyk, AP
Friday, August 13, 2010

McNamee lawyer hails Clemens appeal ruling

HOUSTON — An attorney for Brian McNamee said Friday he’s looking forward to airing — in New York — a defamation lawsuit the personal trainer has filed against seven-time Cy Young winner Roger Clemens in their fight over doping allegations.

Attorney Richard Emery commented one day after a federal appeals court refused to reinstate a similar suit Clemens has filed against McNamee in Texas.

In its 2-1 ruling, a panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with a judge’s dismissal last year of most of Clemens’ claims against McNamee. The former trainer said he injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone more than a dozen times, a claim the pitcher has denied.

Clemens appealed the decision by U.S. District Judge Keith Ellison, saying the court lacked jurisdiction over Clemens’ claims involving statements McNamee made in New York.

“Thankfully, the court protected Brian from Clemens’ bullying ploy,” Emery said in an e-mail to The Associated Press. “We can now see Clemens in court in Brooklyn and hold him accountable for his lies.”

Clemens’ lawyer Rusty Hardin said Thursday he hadn’t decided what to do next about the appeals court ruling.

In a dissent, Judge Catharina Haynes wrote she believed a proper jurisdiction for the lawsuit was Texas, Clemens’ home state, “where the brunt of the injury to his personal and professional reputation was sustained.”

At a hearing last month before the New Orleans-based appeals court, Clemens’ attorneys argued Ellison was wrong when he ruled McNamee is entitled to immunity for statements he made to baseball investigator George Mitchell. They contended the protection doesn’t extend to the Mitchell Commission that investigated performance-enhancing drug use in baseball, even though McNamee spoke to the panel as part of his cooperation with federal investigators.

Clemens sued his former personal trainer in Texas state court in January 2008, a month after McNamee’s accusations against the pitcher were published in the Mitchell Report. The suit was moved a month later to the federal court in Houston.

McNamee claimed in the report that he injected Clemens with steroids and human growth hormone in 1998, 2000 and 2001.

Clemens said McNamee’s statements, which the trainer also repeated to Sports Illustrated’s website, were “untrue and defamatory.” The trainer sued Clemens for defamation in federal court in Brooklyn.

Clemens and McNamee in 2008 repeated their conflicting claims to a congressional committee, which then asked the Justice Department to look into whether the pitcher lied. Clemens denied using performance-enhancing drugs when he testified under oath to Congress.

Associated Press Writer Sarah Portlock contributed to this story

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