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Wednesday, Jul 30, 2014
Crime & Courts

Bubba the Love Sponge, Schnitt reach mediation settlement

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TAMPA When everything was said and done, the two radio bad boys agreed to play nice.

Shock jocks Bubba the Love Sponge Clem and Todd “MJ” Schnitt have ended their epic legal battle after a marathon mediation meeting.

In sum, Schnitt will drop his appeal of his failed defamation lawsuit against Clem and Clem will withdraw his bid to make Schnitt pay his legal fees, which Clem has said were about $1 million.

Clem also agreed not to talk about Schnitt’s wife or children and not to defame Schnitt.

The agreement came about midnight Friday morning following a mediation meeting that stretched out over about 12 hours.

Todd and Michelle Schnitt had sued Clem and his radio network for defamation over statements Clem made on his radio show.

A jury ruled Jan. 30 in favor of Clem after nine days of testimony spanning nearly three weeks.

As part of the mediation settlement, Clem agreed to pay $5,000 each time he mentions Schnitt’s family – including his wife – on-air.

On Feb. 12, Schnitt filed a motion to have the case retried, accusing the law firm representing Clem of misconduct based on the events related to the DUI arrest of one of Schnitt's lawyers during the trial.

Attorney Phil Campbell was pulled over Jan. 23 by Tampa police after a paralegal for Adams & Diaco bought him drinks at Malio's. Schnitt's legal team said it was a setup.

The settlement means there will be no new trial. The case between the shock jocks is over.

But some legal spats continue.

For example, after the trial, Schnitt fired Campbell, who went to court seeking about $1 million in legal fees. Schnitt’s new lawyer, Wil Florin, has responded that not only does Schnitt not owe Campbell the money, but Campbell should refund the Schnitts nearly $1 million they previously paid, in part because Campbell told Schnitt after Campbell was arrested for a DUI in 2008 that, “This would not happen again.”

Florin on Friday said he was “very pleased with the result” of the mediation, which he said was “something that should have happened a long time ago. Their previous lawyers and Clem’s lawyer should have sat down years ago and had a professional discussion about their differences. It’s just sad that didn’t happen, but we’re very happy with the result.”

Clem’s lawyer, Joseph Diaco Jr., said mediator Jim Murman “did a heck of a job, employing “persistence, a rational and common sense approach and relentless determination to keep us there.”

Diaco also said he is proud of Clem for the strength he has shown as the case was litigated.

Clem, he said, gave up his potential for reimbursement for attorney costs in return for “closure” and “to protect the verdict for the first amendment and for other broadcasters.”


esilvestrini@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7837

Twitter: @ElaineTBO

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