Judge dismisses Laurie Fine’s case against ESPN

first_img Published on March 26, 2016 at 3:27 pm Contact Delaney: [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+ A new development in Laurie Fine’s libel lawsuit against ESPN may signal the end of the Bernie Fine case.A judge on Friday dismissed Laurie Fine’s case against the television network. Fine, the wife of former Syracuse University men’s basketball assistant coach Bernie Fine, sued ESPN in 2012 claiming the network aired statements that were false and defamatory. The network reported allegations that Bernie Fine molested two ball boys at SU and that Laurie Fine had had sex with one of them.In 2011, ESPN also aired a taped phone call between Laurie Fine and Bobby Davis, a former SU ball boy who claimed Bernie Fine molested him.Laurie Fine has claimed the phone call was about loaning money and NCAA violations, not sex. Davis recorded the call to prove his allegations against Bernie Fine.The judge, Chief United States Magistrate David Peebles, granted ESPN’s motion labeling Laurie Fine as a limited purpose public figure, which means she would have to prove that ESPN published its reports with actual malice against her.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textLaurie Fine’s repeated appearances on television and radio shows before the accusations and her public involvement in the controversies surrounding her husband were proof that she was a public figure, according to the decision.Peebles said “a reasonable factfinder” would be unable to detect actual malice on behalf of ESPN from the evidence in record.Actual malice would have required the network to know that it was reporting false statements, according to the decision. Peebles said there was “not one shred of evidence” that showed ESPN knew that what it was reporting was false, or that it should have known this.If Laurie Fine chooses to not appeal the decision, this would be the last of the court cases involving Bernie Fine, according to Syracuse.com.In March 2014, a federal judge denied ESPN’s motion to dismiss this case. The judge said he could not decide if ESPN’s reporting was “fair and true.”In 2013, Bernie Fine dropped his $11 million defamation lawsuit against ESPN.center_img Commentslast_img