Scripps Defeats Defamation Lawsuit From Former ‘Windy City Rehab’ Star – The Hollywood Reporter


Scripps has defeated a defamation and libel lawsuit from a contractor featured in HGTV residence renovation present Windy City Rehab who alleged he was falsely portrayed because the sequence’ villain and blamed for crimes he didn’t commit.

Sacramento choose Richard Sueyoshi on Tuesday dominated that the depiction by Scripps and producers Big Table Media of Thomas Eckhardt is roofed by the First Amendment’s free speech protections. He concluded, “Defendant has shown that the entire complaint arises from an act in furtherance of its right of petition or free speech and Plaintiff failed to establish that there is a probability that he will prevail on the claim.”

Eckhardt, founding father of actual property improvement agency Greymark Development Group and a contractor who appeared within the present, in September sued Scripps over his depiction within the second season of the sequence.

Eckhardt says the breakup of his enterprise relationship with Alison Gramenos, an govt producer and host of the present, grew to become the primary focus of the sequence, which depicted him because the villain and his accomplice as an “unknowing, innocent victim.” The duo was stricken by points round unpaid subcontractors and actual property taxes, improper use of proceeds from development loans and budgetary discrepancies. He alleges that Scripps, which operates HGTV as a subsidiary of Discovery, improperly aired false statements made by Gramenos pinning the blame solely on him.

Sueyoshi present in a tentative ruling that the criticism met two of the three requirements required to allege defamation and libel however didn’t show that Scripps acted with malice, a crucial exhibiting. The order is  grounded in a California statute permitting for early dismissal of circumstances that search to relax free speech.

During the Tuesday listening to, Eckhardt’s legal professional Daniel Hogan seemed to maintain the case alive. He argued that the present’s producers had prior data to suspect statements made by Gramenos have been false and that they need to’ve investigated.

“They knew the were relying upon an unreliable source based upon her prior false public statements and based on the fact that she’d been sued multiple times for fraud,” he stated. “They knew she harbored animus against plaintiff, and they didn’t investigate.”

Scripps legal professional Aaron Moss responded that Scripps would’ve wanted to “entertain serious doubts about the truth” and ignore them for claims relying on a exhibiting of malice to outlive.

Failure to research isn’t sufficient, he continued, when Eckhardt by no means spoke up about what he thought-about lies from Gramenos earlier than the second season of the present aired.

Moss stated of Eckhardt: “He knew had been accused of financial malfeasance and yet, when the teaser trailer aired shortly before season two, he simply said ‘this isn’t going to be good for anyone’ without saying anything that would suggest that Scripps was being put on notice of some specific untruth they should investigate.”

In his tentative ruling, Sueyoshi emphasised the present’s producers said in an e-mail that there must be a “factual representation of what happened, and not edited in a way that casts someone in a poor light.”

He wrote, “Simply put, even if Plaintiff produced some evidence that Season Two was scripted/fictionalized, and/or that Defendant had input regarding the storylines, this is a far cry from evidence that Defendant created any of Gramenos’ statements and/or had any knowledge they were false or even a reason to doubt they were true.”

The choose finally took the matter underneath submission. He didn’t point out that something he heard throughout the listening to would change his thoughts on dismissing the lawsuit.

The criticism alleges defamation, commerce libel and intentional infliction of emotional misery, amongst different claims. Eckhardt claims he’s suffered despair and that his enterprise has slumped due to the present’s false depiction of his enterprise dealings.

HGTV guardian Discovery and Windy City Rehab producers Big Table Media have been named within the lawsuit. Gramenos was not.


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