Fox News motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, Seth Rich murder reporting, Plaintiffs are parents of Seth Rich a DNC staffer
whose murder and possible involvement in leaking DNC emails to WikiLeaks was the subject of article published May 16, 2017
“I know that Seth Rich was involved in the DNC leak.”…Kim Dotcom
“Let me tell you something. They were all over that woman,”
“And it was the type of stuff we ran into with the outfit (the Chicago mob). Intimidation just by watching her, making their presence known. … Just to let her know ‘We can do what we want.’ ”…Attorney David Schippers, Clinton investigator
“Burkman said in an interview that he considered Selig like a brother and was badly shaken by his friend’s death.”
“The tragically ironic part is Glenn’s last words to me were, ‘Be careful,’” Burkman said. “It’s just a tragedy — terrible.””…Politico Jan. 24, 2018
From the Fox News motion to dismiss.
Plaintiffs are the parents of Seth Rich, a Democratic National Committee (“DNC”) staffer whose murder and possible involvement in leaking DNC emails to WikiLeaks was the subject of a Fox News article published on May 16, 2017, and retracted a week later. Although the article was not about the Plaintiffs, they claim damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress.
And although the report was unquestionably a matter of legitimate public interest, they seek to hold Fox News and one of its reporters liable for tortious interference with contract based on a confidentiality provision in an agreement the Plaintiffs had with an investigator who was quoted in the article. These claims have no precedent in the common law and are incompatible with the
First Amendment right of the press to report on matters of legitimate public concern.
Plaintiffs allege that the source of their emotional distress is the publication of false and defamatory news stories about their son. But it is the law of New York and elsewhere that surviving family members have no cause of action for the libel of a deceased relative, no matter how much emotional distress they may have suffered. Plaintiffs cannot plead around that rule simply by styling their claim as one for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Nor can
Plaintiffs allege the kind of extreme or outrageous behavior that can support such a claim.
Plaintiffs’ tortious interference claim is based on the allegation that Rod Wheeler, a former homicide detective investigating Seth Rich’s murder on their behalf, breached the confidentiality clause in his contract with them when he divulged information about his investigation to Fox News
without Plaintiffs’ consent. But Plaintiffs have not sued Wheeler for this alleged breach. Nor have they alleged the elements of a claim of tortious interference against Fox News and its reporter: that the Fox News reporter intended to induce a breach of the confidentiality provision—or even that she knew Wheeler would be providing information without Plaintiffs’ consent in violation of his agreement—and that she acted “without reasonable justification” and “for the sole purpose of harming the plaintiff,” rather than reporting on an issue of legitimate public concern. Huggins v. Povich, No. 131164/94, 1996 WL 515498, at *9 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Apr. 19, 1996). Private confidentiality provisions cannot be invoked to impose liability in such a case without violating the most fundamental rights of a free press to report on matters of legitimate public interest. For
these reasons and others elaborated below, the motion of Fox News Network, LLC, and Malia Zimmerman to dismiss for failure to state a claim should be granted with prejudice.”