Judge dismisses bulk of Rather's suit


A New York judge dismissed the majority of the claims in Dan Rather's $70 million lawsuit against CBS and Viacom. Rather claims that CBS News committed "fraud" and "seriously damaged his reputation" by scapegoating him for an unsubstantiated 60 Minutes II report on President Bush's Vietnam-era service with the Texas Air National Guard.

All the claims against CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, Viacom chief Sumner Redstone and Andrew Heyward, former president of CBS News were dismissed. What's left is Rather's suit against CBS as an entity.

Jim Quinn, chief legal counsel for CBS, said what remains of the suit is a "garden-variety contract dispute."

Martin R. Gold, Rather's chief counsel, in a statement disputed that characterization, noting the court has permitted discovery and a trial of all of the factual issues, including his $70 million claim for compensatory and punitive damages. Rather says that CBS violated his contract by not giving him sufficient airtime on 60 Minutes after he was removed from the CBS Evening News in March 2005.

But Quinn says, ""We know what the facts are. He was utilized. We actually spent more money on him during that period of time than on all the other talent on 60 Minutes and 60 Minutes II."