Tuesday, February 17, 2009
WBBM-TV Must Face The Music, Judge Rules
Chicago, IL— Cook County Circuit Court Judge Elizabeth Budzinski has ruled that former WMAQ-TV reporter Amy Jacobson’s lawsuit against CBS owned WBBM-TV and others will go forward to a jury.
In any civil lawsuit the most difficult part is getting past the Summary Judgment phase to enable a trial. CBS and the related defendants in this case are represented by the biggest of law firms that crush ordinary plaintiff’s claims every day. This time however, the CBS lawyers was unable to stop Jacobson or sweep this tawdry hatchet job tale under the rug
Amy Jacobson is represented by an effective plaintiff’s lawyer, Kathleen Zellner. I contacted Zellner who likened Jacobson’s Summary Judgment victory to that story of that infamous David and Goliath duel. “This ruling vindicates Jacobson who was simply doing her job as the rival CBS defendants conspired to invade her privacy as they destroyed her career through a broadcast smear job.”
Amy Jacobson was an award winning reporter that was able to do what nobody else could do, keep Craig Stebic talking and answering questions. Jacobson was trying to learn about Stebic’s wife Lisa Stebic who vanished under suspicious circumstances. Stebic is the “person of interest”, which is a polite term for the usual suspect in law enforcement circles.
Stebic had invoked his right not to talk to police but was still talking to Jacobson. Whatever Stebic said to Jacobson could be used against him because the self-incrimination protections only apply against the police and government.
CBS not only destroyed Jacobson’s career, they also ended any hope of getting Craig Stebic to tell what he knows about his wife’s disappearance..
I see this Jacobson story very clearly. Jacobson was simply doing her job and CBS falsely portrayed her as an adulterous Mata Hari spy. The news value of exposing Jacobson’s investigation was dubious at best.
ultimately CBS managed to cost the reporter her job, house and marriage by their efforts. It’s fair to say now, that the media giant has figured out that the mess that made of Jacobson’s life has backfired in a big way.
Adding insult to injury CBS is suffering record revenue loss and the endless resources to decimate people in the courts are being stretched. I’d say it’s time for CBS to settle before a Cook County jury renders one of those record verdicts they’re so well known to deliver those big corporations. Jacobson’s lawyer, Kathleen Zellner knows firsthand about those generous verdicts.
The biggest question I have to ask is would CBS have done the same thing if Jacobson was a man? I think that answer is glaringly obvious