May 4, 2007


Exclusive: Imus Says CBS got what it bargained for.: ABC News' Law & Justice Unit Has Obtained a Draft Copy of the Imus Lawsuit. (ELLEN DAVIS & CHRIS FRANCESCANI, May 3, 2007, ABC News)

Radio host Don Imus is going to sue CBS for $120 million, according to a draft copy of the complaint obtained by ABC News' Law & Justice Unit. [...]

[Martin] Garbus, who has successfully defended hundreds of high profile First Amendment cases, said CBS still breached Imus' contract when the company fired him.

He cited a section of his client's employment contract today that says Imus' "services to be rendered & are of a unique, extraordinary, irreverent, intellectual, topical, controversial and personal character & and & these components are desired by Company and are consistent with Company rules and policies."

While the lawsuit focuses on the contract, hovering above the dispute is the question of whether Imus's comments put the network in jeopardy with the FCC - which has been uncharacteristically aggressive in policing the airwaves in recently years.

One former FCC commissioner who spoke to ABC News suggested that CBS had gotten exactly what it had bargained for.

"The issue is one more of extremely poor judgement than it is an FCC issue," said ex-commissioner Harold Furtchgott-Roth. "That's what Imus' schtick has been for years."

Former FCC commissioner Kathleen Abernathy said Imus' comments were "definitely in bad taste and inappropriate language."

"But in order to prohibit such language, it has to rise to the level of being legally profane, and I do not think that it rises to that level because of our legal history of protecting free speech.''

Former commissioner James Quello concurred, telling ABC News that he thought "it was a mistake and that [Imus] had a First Amendment right to be wrong."

And former commissioner Gloria Tristani said she did "not believe that what [Imus] said would rise to the level of what [the FCC] has found profane of late. & But they are very fact-specific inquiries."

Imus' contract also stipulated that he must be given a warning in writing before being fired for stepping over the line.

You can only hope their political correctness costs them $120 million.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 4, 2007 4:35 PM

And add another 16 for Katie......

Glad they have that much money.

Oh, wait, the peons will get cut.....

Imus should sue for Couric's job, would cost them less in the end.....

Posted by: Sandy at May 4, 2007 7:47 PM

And another $1200 million for punitive damages.

Posted by: ray at May 4, 2007 11:13 PM