Judge: Reporters not liable for lawyer fees; [LATE TAMPA Edition]
GRAHAM BRINK. St. Petersburg Times. St. Petersburg, Fla.: Aug 19, 2004. pg. 4.B
investigative reporters who accused their bosses in a lawsuit of distorting
their story about growth hormones in milk won't have to pay nearly $2-million in
attorneys' fees to a local Fox affiliate, a judge ruled Wednesday.
and Akre sued the station after they were released early from their contracts in
1997. They claimed station management and lawyers buckled to pressure from
Monsanto Corp. to distort their story. The station did not air the couple's
In August 2000, a jury awarded Akre $425,000, saying the station retaliated against her for threatening to blow the whistle on a false or distorted news report. The same jury decided the station had not wronged Wilson.
station appealed the $425,000 award. Florida's Second District Court of Appeal
eventually overturned the decision, saying Akre failed to show the station
violated any state laws.
The station used that ruling to go after the nearly $2-million in fees. In some cases, the winning party can collect their attorneys' fees and court costs from the other side.
Graham Brink can be reached at (813) 226-3365 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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