A New York federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a former Fox News Channel producer that claimed Fox News, its parent company 21st Century Fox and Bill O’Reilly breached a 2002 settlement agreement.
The producer, Rachel Witlieb Bernstein, one of several women who reached settlement agreements stemming from alleged sexual harassment from O’Reilly, claimed in her original suit filed in December 2017 that O’Reilly violated those settlements by speaking publicly and disparagingly about the accusations, that following a New York Times piece earlier that year revealing O’Reilly and FNC paid out around $13 million to blunt lawsuits over the now-fired host’s actions over the years.
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O’Reilly and Fox had filed a motion to dismiss Bernstein’s second amended complaint for failure to state a claim.
U.S. District Judge Deborah Bratt sided with defendants Tuesday, dismissing both the suit’s defamation and breach of contract claims, saying the plaintiff’s claims and demand for damages are “wholly insufficient.”
“Plaintiff repeats that she suffered damages to her reputation, severe emotional distress, physical sickness, and loss of income as a ‘direct and proximate result of O’Reilly’s alleged breach of contract,’ ” Bratt wrote in her ruling (read it here), in language similar to how she decided the other claims in the suit. “However, once again, she fails to explain how her losses were caused by and are directly traceable to the alleged breach of contract. She also fails to allege any facts, beyond her bald allegations of damages, establishing what, if any, emotional and physical harms and reputational damage she specifically suffered.”
Bratt also denied a motion for Bernstein to file a third amended complaint. The judge said Bernstein can replead her claims within 45 days but only against O’Reilly.
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