2nd Circuit Rules Fox News Must Face Suit Brought by Seth Rich’s Family

September 15, 2019 in News by RBN Staff

Source: www.courthousenews.com

MANHATTAN (CN) – The Second Circuit Friday revived an infliction of emotional distress suit against Fox News brought by the traumatized parents of murdered Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich over the cable network’s retracted coverage of a WikiLeaks conspiracy theory.

“We have no trouble concluding that – taking their allegations as true – the Riches plausibly alleged what amounted to a campaign of emotional torture,” U.S. Circuit Judge Guido Calabresi wrote for a three-judge panel.

“Taking the allegations as a whole and drawing all reasonable inferences in favor of the Riches – as we must in this context – we find that the complaint states sufficiently plausible claims against Fox News as an entity to survive a motion to dismiss and warrant discovery into any additional involvement of Fox News in the alleged scheme,” the 28-page ruling continues.

The Second Circuit opinion revived emotional distress and tortious interference claims against Fox News, a contributor and a guest commentator, brought by the parents of Rich, a DNC staffer who was fatally shot in Washington, D.C., three years ago.

Rich’s parents, Joel and Mary Rich, who live in Omaha, Nebraska, claimed they suffered symptoms of post‐traumatic stress disorder and social anxiety disorder after Fox News pushed a discredited right-wing conspiracy theory that their son was involved in the leak of thousands of DNC emails to WikiLeaks, and was killed because of it.

Rich was shot twice in the back a block from his apartment in Washington’s gentrifying Bloomingdale neighborhood, on July 10, 2016. The murder remains unsolved.

Nearly a year after Rich’s death, in May 2017, Fox News published a story written by co-defendant and reporter Malia Zimmerman, which included the now-debunked claim that investigators had evidence showing Rich leaked the emails in the midst of the 2016 presidential election campaign.

The Riches brought a lawsuit against Fox News in the Southern District of New York in March 2018.