This should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed the whole sorry “Rathergate” affair… A New York State Appeals Court has dismissed Dan Rather’s $70 million wrongful termination suit against CBS:
A New York state appeals court on Tuesday dismissed former TV newsman Dan Rather’s lawsuit against CBS Corp in which Rather claimed he was made a scapegoat in a scandal over a 2004 report on then-President George W. Bush’s military record.
The ruling on Tuesday by a panel of judges of the New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division said Rather’s $70 million complaint should be dismissed in its entirety and that a lower court erred in denying CBS’s motion to throw out the lawsuit.
Rather, 77, sued CBS in 2007 after his career collapsed following a 60 Minutes II report on the Pres. George W. Bush’s Vietnam-era military service. The report relied in part on documents that could not be authenticated and that appear to have been generated using modern word processing software rather than a typewriter in the 1970s.
More from the Los Angels Times:
In its ruling, issued more than five months after the parties argued the case before the appellate division, the court reversed Judge Ira Gammerman’s decisions on the case.
“This Court finds that the motion court erred in denying the defendants’ motion to dismiss the claims for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty, and therefore we find the complaint must be dismissed in its entirety,” the ruling said.
The appellate division found that Gammerman should have dismissed Rather’s breach of contract claim against CBS, rejecting the anchor’s argument that he was warehoused by the network constituted a violation of his deal.
“This claim attempts to gloss over the fact that Rather continued to be compensated at his normal CBS salary of approximately $6 million a year until June 2006 when the compensation was accelerated upon termination, consistent with his contract,” the court wrote. Rather’s contract did not require “that CBS actually use Rather’s services or broadcast any programs on which he appears, but simply retains the option of accelerating the payment of his compensation under the agreement if he is not assigned to either program.”
The appellate division found that Rather failed to support his claim that CBS damaged his future business opportunities, saying “it would be speculative to conclude that any action taken by CBS would have alone substantially affected his market value at that time.” And the appeals judges wrote that he could not sue for breach of fiduciary duty because CBS did not owe Rather a fiduciary duty.
The appellate division wrote that Rather had no grounds on which to claim fraud, dismissing his argument that he is making substantially less money at his current job at HDNet than the $4 million annually he believed he could have made at CBS as speculative and irrelevant. And the anchor failed to prove that the fall-out from CBS’ handling of the Bush story curtailed other job prospects.
Ouch, that amounts to total repudiation of Rather’s claims… One hopes Dan Rather will save himself further humiliation and just fade quietly into obscurity, unfortunately, that’s not his style… He’s reportedly planning to appeal the decision.