NEXT DEVELOPMENT:
October 26 in Tampa
Fox Lawyers Expected To Submit Yet Another Brief Asking Judge to Set Aside Jury Verdict

Report Archive:

ˇ September 7 2000:
BOTH SIDES APPEAL JURY VERDICT
Trial judge will hear argyuments October 12

ˇ August 26, 2000:
VERDICT DOESN'T STOP FOX FROM CONTINUING TO DISTORT THE NEWS
News, Analysis and Commentary about how Fox twists news of verdict and  reports "total vindication"

ˇ August 18, 2000:
VICTORY IN COURT!
Full coverage of the jury's decision in the Fox/BGH suit

ˇ August 5, 2000:
Guest Editorial


ˇ July 27, 2000:
Trial Coverage: Days 8-9
Startling Admission from Fox
V-P Who Fired Wilson/Akre

ˇ July 26, 2000:
Trial Coverage: Day 7
V-P News Lays Claim To
Insanity Defense

ˇ July 24, 2000:
Trial Coverage: Day 6
Second week of trial begins

ˇ July 21, 2000:
Trial Coverage: Day 5
Week one ends with a bang;
Fox seeks mistrial, Judge
says no

ˇ  July 20, 2000:
Trial Coverage: Days 3 and 4 

ˇ July 18, 2000:
Trial Coverage: Day 2


ˇ July 17, 2000:
Trial Coverage: Day 1

ˇ July 14, 2000:
Justice For Sale In Tampa?
Finally at the courthouse,
litigants can't afford to use
the courtroom facilities

ˇ July 12, 2000:
Fox Loses Key Motion; Jury
Is Seated

Plaintiffs do not have to
prove Fox guilty of violating Communications Act

ˇ July 8, 2000:
Potential Landmine Could
Derail Entire Case

ˇ June 30, 2000:
Judge Steinberg Ready To
Get Case Back On Track

ˇ June 26, 2000:
Another Judge Says 'No' to Hearing Wilson/Akre v Fox Case

ˇ June 21, 2000:
Still No Judge To Hear Fox/BGH Case While Foxes Dishes More Distortion To WTVT Tampa Viewers

ˇ June 16, 2000:
Trial Date Pushed Back Again; New Judge To Be Selected

ˇ June 8, 2000:
Fox  Manager Who Fired Akre and Wilson In Tampa Gets Big Promotion 
David Boylan Flies Into The Sunset to Manage KTTV, Los Angeles

ˇ June 6, 2000:
Fox Trial Will Start Sooner Than Expected
It will proceed in the heat of the summer, probably in July

ˇ May 25, 2000:
Fox Trial Will Not Start June 12 as Scheduled

ˇ May 18, 2000:
Fox Still Stalls on Testimony of Its president Mitchell Stern
Pre-trial hearing is otherwise uneventful

ˇ May 8, 2000:
Ralph Nader Testifies About Broadcasters' Public Interest Requirement
Presidential candidate gives testimony at pre-trial depo 

ˇ May 5, 2000:
Court-ordered Mediation Is Brief and Unsuccessful
Trial set to begin June 12

ˇ April 28,2000:
Fox Challenges rBGH Experts At Depositions

Fox lawyers laying ground-
work to tell jurors experts are cancer scaremongers?

ˇ April 26,2000:
Walter Cronkite Testifies on Behalf of Akre & Wilson
Fox lawyers lodge objections

ˇ October 19:
Fox Lawyers Insist On Secrecy At Deposition
French TV Ejected

ˇ October 18:
FDA Wants Comments on G-M Foods
Public Meetings Start in November

ˇ October 13:
Judge Rules: Trial Will Proceed: Defense loses third effort to have case dismissed

ˇ September 24:
MSNBC: Gene-modified foods might get labels:
Industry weighs voluntary steps, U.S. studies options as well

ˇ September 20:
Trial Still Set to Start Soon: Busy Docket Delays foxBGHsuit

ˇ August 4:
MSNBC: Mutable Feast:
Will the fight over gene-altered food products leapfrog across the Atlantic?

ˇ June 30:
Consumers International:
UN Health Group Shuns BGH

ˇ June 1:
New York Times:
Farmers’ Right To Sue Grows - Food Warning Muzzle Likely

ˇ May 10:
Corporate Crime Reporter:
Monsanto Officials Join Leading Consumer, Environmental Groups

ˇ May 3:
Fox Deceives Viewers in Primetime, Too
Net Admits Staging after INSIDE EDITION Report

ˇ April 30:
Democracy Group Award to Akre/Wilson
Fired Reporters Cited for "Courage in Journalism"

ˇ April 29:
New Trial Date is October 11
Fox Piles On Big-Name Lawyers

ˇ April 17:
Clinton Lawyer Joins Fox Legal Team
David Kendall Involvement Confirmed in Letter to Monsanto

ˇ April 16:
Fox Pleads for Another Delay
Later Trial Date to be Set April 29th

ˇ April 1:
Judge Says BGH Case Will Go To Trial
Opening Gavel Falls May 10th

ˇ February 16:
PENTHOUSE Exposes BGH, Fox Coverup:
First-rate story of BGH situation and lawsuit against Fox TV (rated G -- no nudity, just the story)

ˇ January 25:
ENS Summary of BGH Developments

ˇ January 14:
How Fox Wanted to Slant News of Canadian Concerns
Canadian BGH Concerns Were Big Issue In Firing of Fox Reporters

ˇ January 14:
Canada Says NO to BGH!
Read the CBC Story or View-Listen to report with RealPlayer

ˇ January 14:
Health Canada Rejects Bovine Growth Hormone in Canada
Government News Release

ˇ December 16:
Akre & Wilson Win Courage Award
For Work On Story Which Cost Them Their Jobs

ˇ December 15:
ABC NEWS Catches Up on BGH
Read the ABC Story or View-Listen to report with RealPlayer

ˇ November 7:
FOX Legal (8/28) Answers
to Reporters' Complaint Now Available

ˇ November 1:
Monsanto and Fox: Partners in Censorship
PR Watch - Showcase Article

ˇ October 30:
Canadians Probe Coverup Claim
Read CBC Story or View-Listen to report with RealPlayer

ˇ October 24:
Reporters Get Top SPJ Ethics Award

ˇ October 22:
BGH Issue Explodes in Canada:
Read CBC Story or View-Listen to report with RealPlayer

ˇ October 7:
SECRET Canadian Study Leaked...
...BGH safety questions unanswered?

ˇ Sept 13:
Akre-Wilson Depos Start

ˇ Sept 10:
TIMES/St. Petersburg
SP Times covers NutraSweet flap

ˇ Sept 10:
Our Story: Fox Still Protecting Monsanto?

ˇ Sept 8:
Fox Pulls Plug on NutraSweet Foe

ˇ Sept 1:
Reporters Respond To Defense

ˇ READ story FOX-TV refused to air...
or View-Listen to report with RealPlayer

ˇ July 14:
Judge refuses to dismiss
all but one count of reporters' suit

ˇ July 5:
OBSERVER/London
Digger Still Plays Dirty

ˇ July 1:
Depositions Continue, Trial Date Set

ˇ June 7:
TIMES/St. Petersburg
Akre/Wilson Preparing FCC Complaint

ˇ May 26:
Judge rejects Defense motion
for Protective Order

ˇ May 25:
WEEKLY PLANET/Tampa:
Grazing A Stink - - -Don't Have a Cow

ˇ May 23:
NEW YORK TIMES:
(Silenced) Reporters... Post Web Site

ˇ May 21:
Wilson/Akre demand on-air correction

ˇ April 29:
FOX-TV asks court:
Dismiss case and Delay depositions

  JUDGE WON'T SET ASIDE JURY
   VERDICT BUT GIVES FOX ONE MORE CHANCE TO CONVINCE HIM

                                                By STEVE WILSON
        TAMPA (October 12, 2000)—
The trial judge who presided over the five-week-long Fox/BGH trial has refused again to grant Fox Television’s motion to direct a verdict in favor of Fox despite the jury’s verdict against the broadcaster last August.  Florida state court judge Ralph Steinberg did not resolve the issue, however, and agreed to read additional briefs defense lawyers said they will submit in the next couple of weeks.

Judge Steinberg Delays Final Decision
        In a hearing that lasted more than an hour Thursday, the judge listened patiently as Fox attorney William McDaniels repeated many of the same arguments he has made both before and during the trial and Akre’s lawyer John Chamblee rebutted each claim and argued they have all been heard—and denied—before.
       
 Although remarking at one point that Fox lawyers may have some persuasive arguments, Judge Steinberg said that based on the case law provided by the plaintiffs as well as by the judge’s clerk who also did considerable research on the issues, he made the decision to let the jury decide.  The judge made it clear he was strongly inclined to let the panel’s decision stand, especially since both sides agreed no new evidence or case law has surfaced since the August 18 decision. 
        But at the end of the day, Steinberg relented to McDaniels and agreed to read one more additional brief on the matter before reaching a final decision on whether to overturn the verdict.

Wilson, Chamblee

Justice Delayed, Justice Denied?
        Co-Plaintiff Steve Wilson adamantly opposed the further delay, telling the judge, “Your Honor, I would like to remind you again that the Plaintiffs in this case are not a big corporation with bottomless pockets.  We are a family,” he pleaded, “and we have exhausted much of our personal resources over the last three

years just to get to trial so that a jury could make a decision in this case.  Further delay only increases the chances that soon we will not have the resources to continue and no matter what the jury found, we will end up losing by default.” 
        Akre attorney Thomas Johnson informed the judge that his partner John Chamblee moved to Texas following the verdict and more hearings on the same issues poses a hardship for the firm, as well.
       
“I spent my summer on this case, Your Honor,” Johnson said.  He told the judge he and his family sacrificed their summer vacation for this case and as it drags on with more hearings on issues which have already been raised and decided, he is concerns about being able to meet the firm’s payroll.
       
The judge said another hearing would be necessary in any event to take up co-Plaintiff Wilson’s motion for a new trial (on his case alone) due to what he claims is an erroneous jury instruction.  The court not only ran out of time Thursday before that issue could be addressed, the defendant now claims the motion must be dismissed because it was not properly filed in a timely manner.
       
Wilson’s motion says the jury was not able to find in his favor because they were wrongly instructed that in order to do so they must find the sole reason for his termination was his protected whistleblower activity.  According to recent case law, Wilson argues that Fox’s retaliation for his standing up for the BGH story need only be a “prevailing” or “substantive” reason for his dismissal, not the sole reason.

Just Going Through The Motions?
        Lacking the animated passion and spirit that has marked some of previous appeals to the court, McDaniels calmly and quietly reviewed what he claimed were three basic reasons the judge should set aside the jury’s unanimous verdict and the $425,000 awarded to whistleblower journalist Jane Akre.


Bill McDaniels
Weary of the fight?
        First, he claimed there was insufficient evidence to support the jury’s finding that Fox acted deliberately to slant and distort news reports about Monsanto’s artificial Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH).       Second, the defense lawyer argued that there was insufficient evidence to support the 

damage award. He claimed the only adverse personnel action which occurred after the journalists written complaint to Fox officials was a suspension period for which the reporters were ultimately paid.And, finally, McDaniels argued yet again that the Plaintiffs should never have been able to prevail in any event because technically there is no law, rule, or regulation against deliberate news distortion by a television station licensed to use the public airwaves.
        Acknowledging for the first time that the “no-law-against
-lying” argument poses a public relations nightmare for a news organization, McDaniels said, “WTVT is not saying a licensee is free to falsify the news.  That’s not the issue,” he claimed.  He said no Fox station would ever do such a thing. 


John Chamblee 

        The judge, at another point later in the hearing, pointed out that the jury could well have reached a different verdict had they been in agreement with Fox’s view of the case.
        
Plaintiff attorney Chamblee reviewed the litany of previous arguments and motions for dismissal, summary judgment and directed verdict 

in the case—none of which were granted by any of the three judges that have heard the arguments—and he pleaded that “enough is enough,” repeatedly encouraging the judge to affirm the decision of the three-man, three woman jury. 
         
No new date was set for the hearing pending the filing of yet an additional brief by the defense lawyers that the judge limited to 15 pages this time at the request of Akre attorney Johnson.

 

Stories Posted Recently:

BOTH SIDES FILE APPEALS OF JURY VERDICT

DELIBERATE DISTORTION OF NEWS ON FOX TV CONTINUES WITH FALSE REPORTS OF VERDICT

VICTORY IN COURT -- FULL COVERAGE OF THE JURY'S VERDICT IN THE FOX/BGH SUIT

GUEST EDITORIAL:  WAKE UP, YOU WATCHDOGS

TRIAL COVERAGE:  STARTLING ADMISSIONS FROM FOX V-P WHO FIRED WILSON/AKRE

TRIAL COVERAGE:  INSANITY DEFENSE FOR FOX?

TRIAL COVERAGE:  SECOND WEEK BEGINS

TRIAL COVERAGE:  WEEK ONE ENDS WITH BANG

TRIAL COVERAGE:  DAYS THREE AND FOUR

TRIAL COVERAGE:  DAY TWO

TRIAL COVERAGE:  DAY ONE


JUSTICE FOR SALE AT THE COURTHOUSE?

FOX AIRS ANOTHER DISTORTED STORY ON rBGH

TRIAL DELAYED; NEW JUDGE TO BE CHOSEN

FOX MGR WHO FIRED JOURNOS GETS PROMOTED TO FOX'S SECOND-BIGGEST STATION

TRIAL TO START SOON, LATE JUNE/EARLY JULY

TRIAL DELAYED AGAIN WILL NOT START 6/12

FOX STALLS ON TESTIMONY OF ITS PRESIDENT

RALPH NADER TESTIFIES RE PUBLIC INTEREST

MEDIATION IS BRIEF AND UNSUCCESSFUL

FOX CHALLENGES PLAINTIFFS' rBGH EXPERTS

CRONKITE TESTIFIES FOR AKRE & WILSON 


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