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Monday, September 20, 2004

Does the Killian family have a good invasion of privacy suit? 

Jerry Killian's son is looking for an apology from CBS News:
Gary Killian, a Houston businessman who once served in the Guard with his father, said he initially questioned the validity of parts of the memos, then later became convinced they were all fakes.

Killian said he is angry with both CBS and Burkett.

"Do I take it personally? Yes," he said, adding: "I think, first of all, CBS and Dan Rather owe my deceased father and my family an apology."

Jerry Killian died of heart failure in 1984.

The younger Killian said CBS should go further that simply calling its reporting flawed. "I don't accept that this was an innocent mistake. I think it confirms what a lot of people already think: that there is a hidden agenda among some of the media," Killian said.

Apart from the obvious truth here -- CBS News should be begging the Killians for forgiveness -- if I were the network I'd be more than a little worried that the Killians have their lawyer banging out a complaint. I'm more an ex-lawyer than a lawyer so I'm weak on the specific elements of particular torts, but it seems to me that Killian, were he alive, could state a "false light" invasion of privacy claim, a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress, arguably intentional infliction of emotional distress, and perhaps libel. Any lawyers out there want to comment on which, if any, of these torts might be brought by the family?

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