Vancouver Sun B5 | 11Jul2006 | Neal Hall

B.C. man fights U.S. court's libel judgment

JUSTICE | Retired prof, who lives with judge, didn't defend himself, claiming court had no jurisdiction

VANCOUVER | A retired Vancouver university professor who lives with a B.C. Supreme Court judge is opposing an American court order to pay more than $225,000 US in a libel judgment.

California lawyer Gary Kurtz won the default judgment on Nov. 02, 2004 against Lubomyr Prytulak, who didn't defend the defamation action, arguing the court had no jurisdiction because he has no connection to California.

The court documents state that the libel judgment, with interest, now totals $248,754 US and is racking up interest at $71 US a day.

Kurtz's lawyer, Richard Fayerman, argued in court Monday that the California libel judgment should be registered in B.C. Supreme Court, giving it the effect of an order of B.C.'s top trial court.

Robert Anderson, acting for Prytulak and his partner, Justice Mary Marvyn Koenigsberg, argued against registering the U.S. judgment. Legal arguments will continue today at the Vancouver Law Courts.

In a court document filed in B.C. Supreme Court, Kurtz alleges Prytulak transferred his share of a $900 000 home in Point Grey to Koenigsberg before the default judgment was rendered in California.

The court document containing the unproven allegation names both Prytulak and Koenigsberg, who have not been served with legal notice of pending litigation concerning Prytulak's transfer of his share of the home, which the couple have owned since 1990.

The California judgment came after Kurtz sued over written comments made by Prytulak in strongly worded letters sent to the Los Angeles Superior Court involving another libel lawsuit filed against Prytulak in 2002 by Kurtz's client, New York private investigator Steve Rambam.

Rambam, whom Prytulak describes as "a hunter of Nazi war criminals," sued over comments Prytulak had made on his now defunct Ukrainian Archives website (www.ukar.org), whose stated purpose was to refute "misleading or false impressions of the Ukrainian people and the Ukrainian nation."

Prytulak's website challenged Rambam's claim of having successfully tape recorded 5 confessions of "Nazi war criminality" in Canada.

nhall@png.canwest.com