Jenny Jones verdict overturned
BY Advocate.com Editors
October 24 2002 12:00 AM ET
The Michigan court of appeals threw out a jury's $29.3 million award against the Jenny Jones show, saying the talk show had no legal duty to protect a guest who was murdered after revealing a gay crush. The appeals court, in a 2-1 ruling released Wednesday, reversed the 1999 decision of an Oakland County jury that found the show's owner, Warner Bros., and its distributor, Telepictures, liable for the death of Scott
Amedure. Amedure was shot and killed by Jonathan Schmitz in 1995, three days
after he revealed an attraction to Schmitz during a taping of the show. The segment never aired, and Schmitz is serving a 25- to 50-year prison sentence. Amedure's family sued the talk show, contending that Schmitz was ambushed and tricked into believing his secret admirer was a woman.
The appeals court said the show "may be regarded as the epitome of bad taste and sensationalism'' but that that isn't enough to hold it liable for Amedure's death. The court added that the show had no way of predicting Schmitz's actions. "The defendants owed no duty as a matter of law to protect [Amedure] from the intentional criminal acts of a third party,'' the court said. Geoffrey Fieger, who represents Amedure's family, said he would
In a dissenting opinion, Judge William Murphy said the show failed to check Schmitz's personal history, which included mental illness, alcohol and drug abuse, suicide attempts, and anger-management problems. "I would hold that as a matter of public policy, if defendants, for their own benefit, wish to produce 'ambush' shows that can conceivably create a volatile situation, they should bear the risk if a guest is psychologically unstable or criminally dangerous,'' Murphy wrote.
Sign Up For Email Updates
- Crime Gay Man Gunned Down in NYC Street, Dies UPDATED: May 18 2013 7:24 PM
- Youth Florida Teen Arrested, Expelled for Same-Sex Relationship May 18 2013 6:58 PM
- Media Legendary Gay Gossip Columnist Michael Musto Responds to Being Laid Off May 18 2013 3:21 PM
- Marriage Equality Vive la France! Hollande Signs Marriage Equality Bill May 18 2013 12:20 PM
- Photography Photos: Cuba Libre May 18 2013 5:29 AM
- Television These 20 Sexy Pics of Stephen Amell Will Hit Your Bullseye May 17 2013 9:00 PM
- Politics Portugal Approves Adoption Rights for Same-Sex Spouses May 17 2013 8:32 PM