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Well, this should be fun: Imus plans lawsuit
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Not that it is particularly unexpected:
Don Imus, the tousled and acerbic radio host whose racial remarks engendered a media storm that triggered a swift upending of his career, is not going away quietly even if the imbroglio has all but disappeared from the national conversation in the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre.

For Imus, who made a career out of operating in the murky space between sophomoric humor and high-brow political talk, there is the little matter of about $40 million left on his contract with CBS Radio - whose boss Les Moonves fired the shock jock on April 12. CBS' lawyers contend Imus was fired for cause and not owed the rest of the money.

But Imus has hired one of the nation's premiere First Amendment attorneys, and the two sides are gearing up for a legal showdown that could turn on how language in his contract that encouraged the radio host to be irreverent and engage in character attacks is interpreted, according to one person who has read the contract.

The language, according to this source, was part of a five-year contract that went into effect in 2006 and that paid Imus close to $10 million a year. It stipulates that Imus be given a warning before being fired for doing what he made a career out of making off-color jokes. The source described it as a "dog has one- bite clause." A lawsuit could be filed within a month, this person predicted.
First Amendment attorney? According to the article this is about a contract dispute (i.e. procedure not followed by an entity contractually obligated to do so). But it has zip to do with the First Amendment.

The lawyers among us may tell us otherwise, but if the stipulation noted is indeed in the contract, it seems Imus may have a case.

As to the supposed "First Amendment" application:
But in Imus' case, his free speech rights are tempered by the fact that he said what he said on the public airwaves - which are subject to Federal Communications Commission regulations about what is appropriate content.
Eh. As I recall the government had said nothing at all (through the FCC) about the incident. Don't see much traction here. And anyway, if they make it a First Amendment case, who's the defendant?
 
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Could it be an attempt to influence public opinion and a possible jury by making him appear a victim; his rights have been violated by a big nasty corporation? If his contract, as you point out, gives him a good case he doesn’t need a great contract lawyer. Even so, I am sure he or his attorney have consulted one.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
The First Amendment may play into the claim that Imus did nothing wrong — i.e. CBS could not then fire him for cause, such as doing something illegal. If it was legal to say what he did, then CBS would have to spell out exactly what it was that Imus did that allowed CBS to cancel his contract "for cause."

I would imagine that Imus’ lawyer will have a vast wealth of audio and video footage to bolster his case. Essentially it is evidence that CBS allowed Imus to make such "off-color" remarks before without giving him any warnings or reprimands. If the contract provides for some sort of warning before taking disciplinary action (i.e. a breach/notice/cure period), then CBS is in the wrong by terminating the contract (and, FWIW, if CBS breached the contract first it can’t then sue for a breach). Accordingly, CBS can’t plausibly claim now that Imus breached some clause of his contract by saying the same things he’s always said.

That’s my best guess as to what the pleadings will look like.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
CBS has no cause here. They have to pay him. Imus is going to be able to show the 5 million times where they said nothing or encouraged him when his show went after Catholics or Jews or whoever.

They should stop being stupid and quietly pay up.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://

 
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