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Judge Says Part of Rather’s Suit May Proceed

Sep 22, 2008  •  Post A Comment

Former “CBS Evening News” anchor Dan Rather can continue with his $70 million breach-of-contract suit against CBS, New York Supreme Court Justice Ira Gammerman ruled Monday. However, he cannot sue Viacom, CBS’ former parent company, the judge ruled.
CBS had filed a motion to dismiss the suit altogether.
After the ruling Monday, CBS News issued a statement declaring, “We are extremely gratified that the court has now dismissed the vast majority of Mr. Rather’s claims, including the fraud and tortious interference with contract claims, all claims against the individual defendants, as well as all the claims against new Viacom. We expect, once we complete the discovery process, that the only two claims that remain in the case—breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty—will also be dismissed.”
CBS lead counsel Jim Quinn said Monday that the network is likely to seek dismissal again after the discovery process is complete, in “a matter of months.”
The judge already had dismissed Mr. Rather’s claims against former CBS News President Andrew Heyward, who left the network after four producers and executives involved with Mr. Rather’s disputed story were forced out, and against Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone and CBS Corp. CEO Leslie Moonves.
“CBS has again failed to win dismissal of Mr. Rather’s $70 million lawsuit. Justice Gammerman held that all of the allegations of CBS’ misconduct remain in the case. Mr. Rather can proceed with his breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty claims, and may seek both compensatory and punitive damages. The Court ordered that all discovery must proceed, and made clear that Mr. Rather’s claims will be heard by a jury,” Martin R. Gold, lead attorney for Mr. Rather, said.
Mr. Rather stepped down from “Evening News” and later left CBS News altogether in the wake of his 2004 report about President George W. Bush’s Vietnam-era service in the Texas Air National Guard. An investigation led by outsiders found that the report was flawed but not overtly politically motivated.
Mr. Rather, now working for HDNet, filed his suit in September 2007 claiming he had been made a scapegoat.
Updated with comment from Mr. Gold at 4:57 p.m.

16 Comments

  1. Let’s review history, for those who haven’t lived this long:
    Dan Rather was appointed White House Correspondent for CBS at the insistance of Lyndon Johnson, who knew he could count on left-leaning Rather to give him a ‘good press.’
    From there his natural ability to do good work led him to the nightly anchor desk.
    Unfortunately, he couldn’t keep his left-wing preferences out of the job, and he wound up deservedly getting fired. The lawsuit should get him only a last ditch burst of publicity, signifying — nothing.

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