NEW YORK, July 21 A New York judge reinstated
part of former TV news anchor Dan Rather's $70 million lawsuit
against CBS on Tuesday, although the ruling could be legally
meaningless if an appeals court dismisses the entire case.
New York State Supreme Court Judge Ira Gammerman ruled that
Rather could sue CBS Corp (CBS.N) for fraud, relating to
Rather's claim that CBS made him a scapegoat in a scandal over
a 2004 report on then-President George W. Bush's military
Rather claims CBS breached his contract and its fiduciary
duty in part by not giving him enough on-air assignments after
he was removed as anchor of the "CBS Evening News" in March
In April, CBS argued before a state appellate court that
the entire lawsuit should be thrown out. The appeal is pending
and, if the higher court throws out the whole suit, Tuesday's
ruling would be rendered legally moot.
In September, Gammerman threw out the fraud claim on
grounds that Rather could not prove he had lost any income as a
result of the network's actions.
On Tuesday, Gammerman accepted an amended complaint showing
Rather's income had been reduced by several million dollars
following his departure from CBS.
"This was for us a good day," Rather told reporters outside
the courtroom, adding, "There's a long way to go."
CBS said it would appeal Gammerman's ruling.
"Today's rulings by Judge Gammerman were on technical and
procedural issues, not on the merits of Mr. Rather's
allegations," CBS said in a statement. "We also await the
appellate division's decisions on pending motions which, we
believe will further curtail his claims."
In its report on Bush, CBS later acknowledged that
documents used in the Sept. 8, 2004, report could not be
authenticated. The network aired the report two months before
the presidential election pitting Bush against Democrat John
Rather kept reporting for the CBS weekly news program "60
Minutes" but was dropped by CBS in 2006 after 44 years with the
network. He spent 24 years as anchor of its flagship nightly
Rather now produces an hourlong news program, "Dan Rather
Reports," for cable channel HDNet, available to viewers with
high-definition TV sets.
(Reporting by Edith Honan; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and