(CN) – Dan Rather’s lawyer is planning his next move after a New York appeals court dismissed the former news anchor’s $70 million lawsuit against CBS.
Rather lost his anchor seat on the “CBS Evening News” after his controversial piece on “60 Minutes II” in 2004 regarding President Bush’s service in the Texas Air National Guard.
Rather sued CBS, parent company Viacom, and officials Sumner Redstone, Leslie Moonves, and Andrew Heyward, alleging fraud and breaches of contract, good faith and fiduciary duty.
The former anchor claimed that CBS, bowing to pressure from Bush supporters, disavowed his report after it was broadcast. Rather also said his superiors fraudulently induced him to apologize and to remain silent on his belief in the truth of his report.
Rather also claimed that his contract stipulated that if he were removed as anchor of the “CBS Evening News,” he would become a regular correspondent for “60 Minutes II” or receive full pay and a release.
Instead, Rather said he was “warehoused” until his contract expired in June 2006.
CBS moved to dismiss all of Rather’s claims. The lower court agreed, with the exception of Rather’s breach of contract and fiduciary duty claims.
Both sides appealed, and Justice Catterson of the First Department Appellate Division ruled that all of Rather’s claims should be dismissed.
Catterson disagreed with Rather’s claim that CBS kept him on the shelf as merely a nominal correspondent for “60 Minutes II” before his contract expired.
Catterson specifically mentioned Rather’s claim that 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 salary of approximately $6 million per year until June 2006, when the compensation was accelerated upon termination, consistent with his contract,” Catterson wrote.
The court ruled that CBS kept its end of the bargain by assigning Rather to “60 Minutes II” and paying him, even though the network did not use him.
It also denied Rather’s fiduciary duty claim, stating that Rather’s four-decade relationship with the network did not create a special fiduciary relationship.
“The length of Rather’s tenure at CBS is irrelevant to, and does not support, this claim of a fiduciary relationship, nor does Rather’s status as the public face of CBS News since Walter Cronkite retired,” Catterson ruled.
Rather’s attorney, Martin R. Gold, issued a statement that he would appeal the case to the New York Court of Appeals.
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