Fox News-Seth Rich Lawsuit Decided
Joel and Mary Rich sued the network in March, accusing it of fabricating a story that accused their son of conspiring with WikiLeaks. The suit alleged intentional infliction of emotional distress, interference with a contract, and negligent supervision.
In his ruling on Thursday, Judge George Daniels found that the complaint failed to satisfy the elements required under federal law.
“It is understandable that Plaintiffs might feel that their grief and personal loss were taken advantage of, and that the tragic death of their son was exploited for political purposes,” Daniels wrote. “However, a general allegation that Defendants had an ‘agreement to collaborate against’ Plaintiffs cannot form the basis of an IIED claim. … Plaintiffs’ complaint is dismissed in its entirety.”
Fox News published an article on its website on May 16, 2017, asserting that Seth Rich had leaked thousands of DNC emails to WikiLeaks before he was shot and killed in July 2016. The network later retracted the story, saying it did not meet its standards.
During oral arguments, Judge Daniels grilled Fox News' legal defense team. However, he saved his harshest criticisms for the Rich family attorneys.
In multiple instances, Daniels told the Rich lawyers that their understanding of the law was mistaken.
"What you are saying is legally wrong!" Daniels exploded during a particularly contentious exchange. "It is wrong!"