Appellate Court Dismisses Rather's Claims Against CBS

Ruling appears to torpedo Rather's $70 million lawsuit against his former employer
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The Appellate Division of the New York State Supreme Court Tuesday dismissed Dan Rather's claims against CBS.

The ruling came down Sept. 29 and appears to torpedo Rather's $70 million lawsuit against his former employer.

"At the outset, we find that Supreme Court erred in declining to dismiss Rather's breach of contract claim against CBS," the decision read.

Rather claimed that CBS violated his contract by not making him a full-time correspondent on 60 Minutes or its now-defunct spin-off 60 Minutes II after he stepped down as anchor of the CBS Evening News in the wake of a flawed 60 Minutes II report about George W. Bush's service in the Texas Air National Guard.

The report continues: "Rather claims that, in effect, CBS 'warehoused' him, and that, when he was finally terminated and paid in June 2006, CBS did not compensate him for the 15 months 'when he could have worked elsewhere.' 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.

"Contractually, CBS was under no obligation to 'use [Rather's] services or to broadcast any program' so long as it continued to pay him the applicable compensation."

Rather’s attorney, Martin Gold, told TVNewser that he intends to ask the Appellate Court to review the case.

"We are extremely disappointed with the Appellate Court's decision," said Gold. "We believe the decision is incorrect on a number of grounds and, accordingly, we intend to ask the New York Court of Appeals to review it."

“The court agreed with CBS that none of Mr. Rather’s causes of action state a valid claim,” said CBS in a statement.

“The court agreed that this has never been anything more than a contract dispute and that Mr. Rather did not and could not plead that there was any breach of his contract. The court unequivocally rejected Mr. Rather’s allegations of fraud and breach of fiduciary duty.”

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