ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Jeremy Telman
Oklahoma City University
School of Law

Friday, April 11, 2008

CBS News Haunted by Its Past: The Dan Rather Suit

Dan_rather Dan Rather (pictured) sued his former employer last September.  Yesterday, most reports suggested that CBS won something of a victory, with headlines such as "Dan Rather's CBS Lawsuit Loses Some Steam,"  "Court Dismisses Majority Of Claims In Dan Rather's Lawsuit Against CBS" and "Judge Dismisses Bulk of Dan Rather's Suit vs. CBS." In its web edition the New York Times offered a more measured headline, "Parts of Rather's Suit Against CBS Dismissed," but in the print edition, schadenfreude apparently won the day, as the headline reads "CBS Is Denied a Move To Dismiss Rather's Suit."

As you may recall, the former CBS anchor was fired for attempting to engage in journalism.  Yesterday, New York State Supreme Court Justice, Ira Gammerman, set aside Mr. Rather's claims against individual defendants such as Sumner Redstone and Leslie Moonves, but left in tact Mr. Rather's breach of contract claim against CBS.  Mr. Rather alleges that CBS breached its contract with him by effectively marginalizing him for more than a year after he departed from the evening news.  Mr. Rather's fraud claim against CBS was dismissed.

I suspect that Justice Gammerman let Sumner Redstone off because of his competitive streak.  Gammerman has been around forever and doesn't like his longevity to be upstaged.  Gammerman well remembers the Roosevelt administration but Sumner Redstone well remembers the Lincoln administration.

[Jeremy Telman]

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