Wall Street Journal GC leaves the company

The Wall Street Journal’s general counsel has left the company following the August takeover by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation.

General counsel and vice president Stuart Karle, a former Journal reporter and lawyer at Los Angeles-headquartered Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, was asked to leave on Thursday.

Karle’s exit is the second major departure in legal at Dow Jones since the takeover. As reported by The Lawyer (7 January 2008), the company snared Harper Collins associate general counsel Mark Jackson to replace outgoing general counsel Joseph Stern, who joined from Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson in 2004.

The Journal’s parent company, Dow Jones, is now a subsidiary of News Corp after a $5.6bn (£2.7bn) takeover in August last year.

During his 14-year time at the Journal, Karle was involved in work including helping the newspaper erase a $223m libel verdict – the largest in US history – awarded by a Houston jury in 1997 in the case of MMAR, a defunct brokerage house. The case and the judgment were dismissed in 2000.

In October 2006, Karle also commissioned Finers Stephens Innocent and Doughty Street Chambers to secure a landmark judgment in the House of Lords that redefined the critical Reynolds defence against libel claims (The Lawyer, 11 October 2006).

The case saw Finers’ Mark Stephens and Geoffrey Robertson QC of Doughty Street acting for the paper as it fought libel claims brought by Saudi Arabian businessman Mohammed Jameel and his eponymous company.