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Parker’s Advocate Suing Former Contributor Galloni In Federal Court

March 21, 2013

Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate is suing Antonio Galloni in federal court, claiming that the longtime contributor traveled on the company’s dime without turning in stories—and that he now plans to use those stories on his new website. In recent months, according to the complaint, Galloni attended tastings in the wine regions of Sonoma, Montalcino, Barolo, and Burgundy, but failed to submit material to The Wine Advocate as expected.

The Wine Advocate also claims that Galloni took proprietary information about its subscribers to solicit them to his eponymous website, which he launched in recent weeks—just after leaving The Wine Advocate, with which he’d been affiliated since 2006.

The lawsuit (case 1:13-cv-00827), filed March 18 in U.S. District Court in Maryland, accuses Galloni of fraud, defamation, tortious interference, misappropriation of confidential information, breach of contract and other charges. “As a result of the defendant’s actions, (the) plaintiff has lost, and will continue to lose, subscribers to its publications,” reads the complaint. The Wine Advocate is seeking at least $75,000 in damages and an injunction.

Galloni, 42, had long been viewed as Parker’s likely successor. However, when Parker sold a stake in The Wine Advocate to a Singapore investor in December 2012, he announced that he was stepping down as editor in chief and that he would be replaced by another Advocate reviewer, Lisa Perotti-Brown. This decision was widely viewed as making Galloni’s eventual departure inevitable. However, Galloni has maintained that the decision to go out on his own—as he had before starting with the Advocate, when he published The Piedmont Report—preceded the sale.

On a March 20 posting on his website, Parker told readers there would be a delay in the Wine Advocate’s Sonoma tasting report: With Antonio’s sudden departure there has been a delay in getting you the Sonoma report, and that’s not the experience we want you to have. We’re sorry to have to bring this conversation to you and had hoped to let the legal process take its course. Galloni has alleged on his own website that the Wine Advocate did not have a Sonoma report on its calendar.

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