Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles attorney Paul Caruso asked for more than $50 million in damages in a slander suit filed Monday against the National Broadcasting Co. and Harvey T. Levin, legal reporter for its local station, KNBC Channel 4.

The suit claimed that Levin stated in a Feb. 26 broadcast that “Caruso thinks (that) in close cases, justice can be bought.” Caruso said that that remark does not accurately paraphrase any statement he has made to Levin or any other person.

By falsely stating and implying that judges can be “bought” and that Caruso has “bought” or bribed judges, the story has damaged his standing in his profession, subjected him to ridicule and humiliation and caused him to suffer hypertension, nervousness, lack of sleep and anxiety, the Los Angeles Superior Court suit alleged.

Caruso, who has practiced law in Los Angeles for 29 years, claimed that he demanded a retraction on March 28 but said that none has been broadcast. He is asking more than $7 million in general and special damages, plus punitive damages of $50 million or 10% of the assets of each defendant, whichever is greater.


Donald L. Zachary, NBC network vice president, law, said that neither KNBC nor Levin had seen a copy of the complaint, and that they would have no comment at present.