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  1. #1
    Terminator's Avatar
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    Member of the Rutgers basketball team files lawsuit against Don Imus

    NEW YORK - A member of the Rutgers women's basketball team sued Don Imus and CBS on Tuesday, claiming the radio personality's sexist and racist comments about the team damaged her reputation.

    Kia Vaughn filed the slander and defamation of character lawsuit in state Supreme Court in the Bronx the same day Imus, who was fired after his comments, settled with CBS Radio in a deal that pre-empts his threatened $120 million breach-of-contract lawsuit against CBS.

    Vaughn's lawsuit, believed to be the first by a player in the case, says Imus and his former co-host Bernard McGuirk along with CBS Corp., CBS Radio, MSNBC and other media outlets that broadcast his show are legally responsible for damage done to her character and reputation. There is no dollar amount listed in the suit.

    Vaughn's attorney, Richard Ancowitz, said, "The full effect of the damage remains to be seen."

    "This is about Kia Vaughn's good name," Ancowitz said. "She would do anything to return to her life as a student and respected basketball player _ a more simple life before Imus opened his mouth."

    Imus referred to the basketball players as "nappy-headed hos" on his nationally syndicated radio program April 4 and became the target of heated protests led by the Rev. Al Sharpton. He was fired shortly after. But he overcame a major hurdle in his widely expected comeback with the settlement Tuesday. It's possible he will return to the air.

    The Vaughn suit claims that the comments were made in the context of a news or sports report and therefore Imus had certain standards to abide by but ignored them. The suit reprints the script from the "Imus in the Morning" show on which the comments were made.

    "The ... false, defamatory, sexually denigrating and slanderous statements and comments against the women athletes of said basketball team were heard, believed and understood by millions of listeners ... as factual pronouncements concerning the character, chastity and reputation of the plaintiff," the lawsuit says.

    Vaughn was humiliated, embarrassed and publicly mocked for the comments, the suit claims.

    After the comments were made, she said at a press conference: "Unless they've given 'ho' a whole new definition, that's not what I am."

    A telephone message left for Imus' attorney was not immediately returned Tuesday. There was no phone listing for McGuirk in the New York area. A spokeswoman for CBS Radio declined to comment, and CBS network spokesman Dana McClintock did not immediately return a message. MSNBC said it hadn't seen the lawsuit.

    Rutgers women's basketball program spokeswoman Stacey Brann said the university had no comment on the lawsuit. She said she didn't know if other players had filed lawsuits.

    Vaughn, a junior from the Bronx who was a center on the team, had spoken out about Imus on Oprah Winfrey's talk show in April. She said the comments overshadowed her team's amazing season _ one the coach has called the most rewarding of her career.

    "Our moment was stolen from us," Vaughn said. "Instead of us coming here to enjoy what we accomplished and how far we came, we had to sit back and look at media asking questions about what he said."

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terminator View Post

    After the comments were made, she said at a press conference: "Unless they've given 'ho' a whole new definition, that's not what I am."

    Does she not have issues with the "nappy-headed" part?

    Give me a break. Her name, character, reputation, and achievements have not been sullied by Imus' comment. If anything, she and her teammates gained more coverage and more recognition than they would have if he hadn't said a word.




  3. #3
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    Post pics and I will judge if she is a nappy-headed ho.
    This will not even go to court.
    I don't like repeat offenders I like DEAD offenders-
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  4. #4
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    I hadn't even been aware that Rutgers had a women's basketball team before this. And bluntly, I still don't care. College (I thought) was for education, not for what used to be hobby activities.
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  5. #5
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    A NJ college student suing a Manhattan radio host in the Bronx..........Bronx is known for giving good verdicts to minorities in civil suits.....even so this will be a tough one to win....a general statement that does not name a particular person is not easy to prosecute

  6. #6
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    what a bunch of bull crap. so the next time someone says something bad about the police I should sue them. it just don't make sense.


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  7. #7
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dinosaur32 View Post
    A NJ college student suing a Manhattan radio host in the Bronx..........Bronx is known for giving good verdicts to minorities in civil suits.....even so this will be a tough one to win....a general statement that does not name a particular person is not easy to prosecute
    From what I remember of my communicatins law class, America does not have laws (civil, of course) against group libel. However, if the group is small enough that an individual can be identified, sometimes the plaintiff can win in civil court.

    The elements of libel a plaintiff has to prove are defamation, identification, publication, fault, falsity, and harm.

    She's probably solid on identification (because a basketball team is a small group), defamation and harm (impugning the chastity of an unmarried woman is one of several types of libel per se -- meaning it's always libelous, and many states don't require proof of harm) and definately solid on publication (it was on television).

    Fault and falsity are a little more complicated.

    Actual malice and negligence are the two main types of fault in libel cases. Which standard the defendent is held to depends on the status of the plaintiff in the community. The status of the plaintiff ranges from private citizen to public figure, with a few variations in the middle. The standard of conduct the plaintiff has to prove if the plaintiff is a private citizen is negligence, which is quite low and fairly easy to prove. A person becomes an involuntary limited purpose public figure when something happens that thrusts that person into the media spotlight, such as the media storm caused by Imus' comments, and the standard for that category is usually negligence.

    The problem for this woman is that, when she spoke out to the media, she probably lost her "protected" status of being involuntary, and became just a limited purpose public figure. So she might have to prove actual malice, which is much, much harder to prove, and tends to favor the "journalist."

    On the other hand, she might have been either a private citizen or a limited purpose public figure at the time Imus made his comments.

    Who has to prove falisity is also determined by the category the plaintiff falls into. But it's fairly easy to prove she didnt' have nappy hair (I've seen pictures of the team). And her word might be enough to establish that she has never accepted money in exchange for sex.

    So it may all boil down to which lawyer is able to establish what her status in the community was.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ducky View Post
    I hadn't even been aware that Rutgers had a women's basketball team before this. And bluntly, I still don't care. College (I thought) was for education, not for what used to be hobby activities.
    I live maybe 25 minutes from Rutgers - they get a lot of local coverage. The Empire State Building was lit with Rutgers' colors for a night or two last year, but I'm not sure if it was for the women's basketball team or the football team.




  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by NCC1701 View Post
    Post pics and I will judge if she is a nappy-headed ho.
    This will not even go to court.
    This is the only pic of her I could find.



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  11. #11
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    Pretty....The victim would have to show that she in some way fit the description and that she was widely known......if she does not have a nappy head then how is she identified?

  12. #12
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    Does this mean I can sue the kid who called me a "four eyed dork" back in elementary school? Instead of being able to be happy with just accomplishing a high grade on a test, I had to sit there and get questioned by the teacher about if I wanted to call him a name back

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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dinosaur32 View Post
    Pretty....The victim would have to show that she in some way fit the description and that she was widely known......if she does not have a nappy head then how is she identified?
    Well, from what I remember, in a case in which a plaintiff is a member of a small and identifiable group (I think the case we studied was members of a sanitation department) about which a libelous statement has been made, the standard for identification might be met.

    And, this is something I found particularly interesting, a person does not have to be widely known for the purposes of libel. In fact, "publishing" just means making the statement to any third party.

    If had to make a guess, it would be that she'll lose on the fault standard, because she participated in the media coverage. Also, I don't think Imus was literally making a factual assertion. I think he was using hyperbole to make a joke, and that's a defense.

    I'll pay attention as it unfolds to see if my amatuer guesses have been close to the mark (although I'll never know if they settle out of court).

  14. #14
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    this is all just some nappy headed ho trying to take a crack at a multimillionnaire... this happens all the time
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caveman View Post
    This is the only pic of her I could find.



    Ooh la la that is a nappy headed ho.
    I heard Jersey is a gangsters paradise. I bet the trip there is not a fantastic voyage.
    I bet the plaintiff has her mind on her money and her money on her mind.
    I don't like repeat offenders I like DEAD offenders-
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  16. #16
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    I want to sue conalabu for calling me "inbred". He damaged my reputation amongst my close family members...

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  17. #17
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    I am going to sue each of you all singularly and together for calling this girl a knappy-headed ho. I am insulted for her and feel that I should be able to collect millions and millions of dollars so that I never hae to work again.

 

 

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