NEXT DEVELOPMENT:
Wilson-Akre wait
for response from DCA
on filing of appeal.

Report Archive:

Ž August 18, 2004:
Judge: Reporters not liable for lawyer fees

Ž December, 2003:
Got Hormones?

Ž October, 2003:
Anatomy of a Smear - A Critic's vicious attack

Ž July, 2003:
Monsanto takes another Dairy to court over milk label

Ž February 28, 2003:
Wilson-Akre file appeal of 2nd DCA reversal

Ž February 28, 2003:
Mitch Perry (WMNF-FM)
report on Appeal
 

Ž February 28, 2003:
Text of Appeal of 
2nd DCA Reversal


Ž February 19, 2003:
Appeals Court Reverses
Jury verdict



Ž February 14, 2003:
WTVT Ruling Coverage


Ž February 14, 2003:
Florida Court Ruling (pdf)


Ž April 9, 2002:
O
ral Arguments Set in Fox Whistleblower Case 


Ž April 9, 2002:
Akre Appeal and Documents


Ž April 9, 2002:
Wilson Appeal and Documents

Ž
September 13, 2001:
Amicus Brief 
(Friends of the Court)

Ž November 2, 2000:
J
ury Veridct Stands

Ž October 12, 2000:
JUDGE RELUCTANT TO SET ASIDE JURY VERDICT
Fox gets 15 days to submit 
new brief 


Ž September 7 2000:
BOTH SIDES APPEAL JURY VERDICT
Trial judge will hear
arguments October 12

Ž 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"

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

Ž August 5, 2000:
Guest Editorial


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

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

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

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

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

Ž July 18, 2000:
Trial Coverage: Day 2


Ž July 17, 2000:
Trial Coverage: Day 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ž 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ž 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)

Ž January 25:
ENS Summary of BGH Developments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ž October 24:
Reporters Get Top SPJ Ethics Award

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

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

Ž Sept 13:
Akre-Wilson Depos Start

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

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

Ž Sept 8:
Fox Pulls Plug on NutraSweet Foe

Ž Sept 1:
Reporters Respond To Defense

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

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

Ž July 5:
OBSERVER/London
Digger Still Plays Dirty

Ž July 1:
Depositions Continue, Trial Date Set

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

Ž May 26:
Judge rejects Defense motion
for Protective Order

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

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

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

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  

August 18, 2004

Judge: Reporters not   liable for lawyer fees


Copyright Times Publishing Co. Aug 19, 2004

Two 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.

After a two-hour hearing, Hillsborough Circuit Judge Vivian Maye ruled that Jane Akre and Steve Wilson filed their 1998 lawsuit against WTVT-Ch. 13 in good faith. As the case proceeded through the court system, judges agreed it had enough merit to go to trial, Maye said. And a jury ruled, at least in part, in Akre's favor, even though that decision was later overturned by an appeals court, Maye noted.

The station had asked for nearly $2-million in attorneys' fees and costs. Maye will rule later on whether to grant Fox's request for about $37,000 in court costs.

The judge did grant the station $18,412 for costs related to the appeal and reserved ruling on another $43,747 in other appeals costs. Still, the judge's decision Wednesday largely let Akre and Wilson off the hook.

"Yes, it's nice not to have nearly $2-million in fees hanging over us anymore," Akre said after the hearing.

The station could appeal the ruling.

Akre and Wilson, who are married, brought national credentials to WTVT-Ch. 13 when they were hired in 1996. Each had more than 20 years of experience - Wilson was an Emmy-winning alumnus of Inside Edition, and Akre spent time at CNN.

The conflict began in 1997 while the pair worked on a story about bovine growth hormone, or BGH, a controversial substance manufactured by the Monsanto Corp.

Wilson 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 report.

Fox has long maintained that it never asked Wilson and Akre to lie in their story. The station says the two refused to be objective and were fired for insubordination.

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.

The 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 appeals court said Akre's threat to report the station's actions to the Federal Communications Commission didn't deserve protection under the state whistle blower statute.

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 brink@sptimes.com.


Contacts for further information:

People Maye, Vivian,  Akre, Jane,  Wilson, Steve
Dateline TAMPA
Text Word Count 463

Text of Appeal filed February 28, 2003
2ndDCAappeal.htm

Report by Mitch Perry
which aired on WMNF-FM
February 28, 2003

Text of February 14, 2003
DCA ruling Reversing Jury Verdict
(pdf file)

Additional documents available on website:  www.foxBGHsuit.com            

Stories Posted Previously:

JUDGE RELUCTANT TO SET ASIDE JURY VERDICT; GIVES FOX 15 DAYS TO SUBMIT ANOTHER BRIEF

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 


Looking For More?

Ž GO TO OUR HOME PAGE

Ž VISIT OUR BULLETIN BOARD, POST A MESSAGE

Ž SOURCES FOR MORE INFO, GROUP CONTACTS

Ž WORLDWIDE NEWS CLIPS ABOUT THE CASE


Note: Clicking these links puts requested page in MAIN frame.
To view, or access other files...just close this browser window: