Jim Quinn, lead counsel for CBS tells TVNewser, "We're thrilled with the results. The core of the allegations of fraud and fair dealing have been thrown out. What's left is a garden variety contract dispute."
Says Rather's attorney:
Justice Gammerman issued a decision today which leaves in place the entire essence of Mr. Rather's lawsuit against CBS and Viacom, including both contract and tort claims. Although not every legal theory of the case survives, as a result of the decision, the Court has permitted discovery and a trial of all of the factual issues that form the basis of Mr. Rather's lawsuit, including his $70 million claim for compensatory and punitive damages. The defendants' statement that all that is left is a "garden variety contract dispute" is simply inaccurate.
Not every legal theory of the case survives? What does that mean? And left intact are all the 'factual issues' - so does that mean the other 4 counts weren't "factual?" Sounds a little defensively lawyerly if you ask me.
CBS then issued another statement:
We are gratified that the court has dismissed the majority of Mr. Rather's claims, including the spurious claims against Mr. Redstone, Mr. Moonves and Mr. Heyward, as well as the false charges of fraud, tortious interference with prospective business relations, breach of good faith and fair dealing. With respect to the few remaining claims, relevant to his contract, there are no facts to support them and we expect them to be dismissed when the discovery process is complete.
Sounds to me, if this is accurate, that we are indeed dealing with a garden variety contract dispute. But then I don't think there were many out here in TV land who Dan had much of a case anyway. At least not as Dan envisioned it.
The actual ruling by the judge is at the link above. Here's what I found:
The seven counts were (and the 4 which were dismissed):
1. Breach of contract, against CBS
2. Breach of fiduciary duty, against CBS
3. Fraud, against CBS, Moonves and Hayward
4. Breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, against CBS
5. Tortious inducement of breach of contract, against Viacom, Redstone, Moonves and Hayward
6. Tortious interference with prospective business relations, against all defendants
7. Prima facia tort, against all defendants
Additionally the judge ordered the complaint "severed and dismissed" against Redstone, Moonves and Hayward and has ordered only CBS and Viacom to answer the remaining complaint.
Huh. Seems like a garden variety contract dispute to me.
I haven’t read the report... but a motion to dismiss basically means that even if everything the plaintiff said was true and proven, the plaintiff would still lose. The 4 causes of action that were dismissed did not assert facts and law that would support liability.
The 3 that remain could. They need to find facts. At this stage, all it means is that if everything is as Dan Rather says it is, he might win. Once discovery takes place, many of the facts will be established - and the rest of the claims can be established.
Discovery is what I’m excited about. I’d love to hear all about the goings on at CBS during the preparation of this story..