Rosenberg’s lawyers rest their case; defense begins

In the ongoing saga of Cleveland Plain Dealer music critic Donald Rosenberg’s discrimination lawsuit against the paper and the Cleveland Orchestra, during this week the plaintiff’s lawyers rested their case, and the defense began its case. The Plain Dealer reported on Rosenberg’s testimony. Among other tidbits, Rosenberg testified that he thought that Music Director Franz Welser-Möst would eventually have to be replaced. Also:

Rosenberg also agreed, again under questioning by [David] Posner [the Musical Arts Association attorney], that others — including newspaper readers, members of the orchestra and others in the community — had complained about what was perceived as a pervasive negative tenor to his reviews of Welser-Most.

When questioned by his own attorney, however, he testified that he believed [Plain Dealer Editor Susan] Goldberg had responded only to pressures from the Musical Arts Association — not other factors — when she reassigned him.

On Thursday this week the Orchestra began its defense, with expert testimony from a journalism faculty from University of California, Berkeley, specializing in ethics who found that Rosenberg’s reviews had taken a mindset of bias, from being too close to the orchestra that Rosenberg loved.

There was also testimony by Orchestra Executive Director Gary Hanson about the unflattering article that Rosenberg had written about Weser-Möst in 2004, quoting from an interview the conductor had given to a German language magazine without asking the conductor for comment. The orchestra’s expert stated that Rosenberg was at fault for not seeking comment.

The trial continues next week, with the newspaper presenting its defense. The jury is expected to get the case toward the end of next week.

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