This case was last updated from U.S. District Courts on 07/28/2022 at 12:21:06 (UTC).

Sandmann v. CBS News, Inc. et al

Case Summary

On March 2, 2020, Nicholas Sandmann, through his parents and natural guardians, Ted Sandmann and Julie Sandmann, (collectively, “Plaintiffs”), represented by Jeffrey A. Standen, John W. Huber, Todd V. McMurtry, and Kyle M. Winslow of Hemmer DeFrank Wessels PLLC, L. Lin Wood of L. Lin Wood, PC, and Nikki Baker of Nikki Baker, filed a lawsuit against CBS News, Inc., ViacomCBS, Inc., and CBS Interactive, Inc. (collectively, “CBSN” or “Defendants”), represented by Gregory R. Naron of Dentons US LLP (Illinois), Jared A. Cox and Jessica L. Meek of Dentons, Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP (Louisville), Natalie J. Spears of Dentons US LLP (Chicago), seeking damages for alleged defamation. This case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, with Judges Candace J. Smith and David L. Bunning presiding. 

In the complaint, Plaintiffs stated, “This is a defamation action arising out of CBSN’s publication and republication of a false and defamatory factual narrative accusing Plaintiff Nicholas Sandmann, at the time a 16-year old minor high school student, of racist misconduct at the National Mall on January 18, 2019 (the ‘January 18 Incident’).”

Plaintiffs further stated, “CBSN’s coverage of the January 18 Incident, among other things, included a broadcast of a telephone interview with Nathan Phillips (‘Phillips’) (the ‘CBSN Telephone Interview’) and a related online article (the ‘Online Article’) (collectively, the ‘False and Defamatory Publications’).”

Plaintiffs alleged, “CBSN’s reporting conveyed the false and defamatory assertion that while at the Lincoln Memorial, Nicholas confronted and threateningly stopped Phillips, a Native American activist who was purportedly praying and singing during the Indigenous Peoples March, from exiting the January 18 Incident.”

Plaintiffs further alleged, “CBSN’s reporting conveyed the false and defamatory charges that Nicholas ‘positioned himself’, ‘aligned himself’, and ‘put himself in front of Phillips’ in order to stop Phillips “exit”’ from the January 18 Incident, while a mass of other young white boys surrounded, taunted, jeered and physically intimidated Phillips.”

Plaintiffs also alleged, “CBSN’s reporting conveyed, among other things, the false and defamatory gist that Nicholas was the face of an unruly hate mob of hundreds of white, racist high school students who physically assaulted and harassed Native Americans who were engaged in peaceful demonstrations, song and prayer at the National Mall.”

Plaintiffs then alleged, “CBSN’s reporting conveyed that, during the January 18 Incident, Nicholas committed conduct that could constitute, among other things, a hate crime. CBSN accused Nicholas of behavior constituting menacing racial intimidation of Phillips, a Native American political activist, while Phillips was purportedly engaged in peaceful song and prayer at the Lincoln Memorial.”

Plaintiffs also alleged, “By failing to correct its false reporting, CBSN continued to promote its false narrative that Nicholas had instigated a racist confrontation with Phillips, long after Phillips was exposed as a fraud whose fictitious version of the January 18 Incident was disavowed by responsible members of the media. CBSN took advantage of the social media hate mob to further its own political and financial agenda.”

Plaintiffs listed two claims for relief, including claims for alleged negligent and malicious publication. In the prayer for relief, Plaintiffs requested an award of damages along with the costs of the litigation. 

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Case Details Parties Documents Dockets

 

Case Details

  • Case Number:

    2:20-CV-00024

  • Filing Date:

    03/02/2020

  • Case Status:

    Disposed - Other Disposed

  • Case Type:

    Personal Injury - Assault/Battery/Defamation

Judge Details

Referral Judge

Candace J. Smith

Presiding Judges

David L. Bunning

William O. Bertelsman

 

Party Details

Plaintiff

Nicholas Sandmann

Defendants

CBS Interactive, Inc.

ViacomCBS, Inc.

CBS News, Inc.

CBS News, Inc. doing business as CBSN

Attorney/Law Firm Details

Plaintiff Attorneys

Todd VanDerVeer McMurtry

Attorney at Hemmer DeFrank Wessels PLLC

250 Grandview Avenue, Suite 500

Ft. Mitchell, KY 41017

Kyle M. Winslow

Attorney at Hemmer DeFrank Wessels PLLC

250 Grandview Avenue, Suite 500

Ft. Mitchell, KY 41017

L. Lin Wood

Attorney at L. Lin Wood, PC

1180 W. Peachtree Street, Suite 2040

Atlanta, GA 30309

Nikki Baker

Attorney at Peterson Baker, PLLC

701 S. Seventh Street

Las Vegas, NV 89101

Jeffrey Allen Standen

Attorney at Hemmer DeFrank Wessels PLLC

250 Grandview Drive, Suite 500

Ft. Mitchell, KY 41017

John William Huber

Attorney at Hemmer DeFrank Wessels PLLC

250 Grandview Avenue, Suite 500

Ft. Mitchell, KY 41017

Defendant Attorneys

Gregory R. Naron

Attorney at Dentons US LLP - IL

233 S. Wacker Drive, Suite 5900

Chicago, IL 60606-6361

Jessica Laurin Meek

Attorney at Dentons Bingham Greenebaum LLP - IN

10 W. Market Street, Suite 2700

Indianapolis, IN 46204

Natalie J. Spears

Attorney at Dentons US LLP - Chicago

233 S. Wacker Drive, Suite 5900

Chicago, IL 60606

Jared A. Cox

Attorney at Dentons, Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP - Louisville

101 S. Fifth Street, 3500 Pnc Tower

Louisville, KY 40202-3197

 

Court Documents

#91

(#91) JUDGMENT is ENTERED IN DEFENDANT'S FAVOR. This matter is STRICKEN from the docket of this Court. Signed by Judge William O. Bertelsman on 7/26/2022.(TJZ)cc: COR (Entered: 07/26/2022)

#90

(#90) MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER: (1) Plaintiff's motions for partial summary judgment on the issue of falsity (Sandmann v. New York Times, No. 20cv23 (Doc. 52); Sandmann v. CBS News, No. 20cv24 (Doc. 58); Sandmann v. ABC News, Inc., No. 20cv25 (Doc. 64); Sandmann v. Gannett Co., Inc., No. 20cv26 (Doc. 65); Sandmann v. Rolling Stone, LLC, No. 20cv27 (Doc. 59)) be, and are hereby, DENIED AS MOOT;(2) Defendants' joint motions for summary judgment (Sandmann v. New York Times, No. 20cv23 (Doc. 53); Sandmann v. CBS News, No. 20cv24 (Doc. 59); Sandmann v. ABC News, Inc., No. 20cv25 (Doc. 65); Sandmann v. Gannett Co., Inc., No. 20cv26 (Doc. 66); Sandmann v. Rolling Stone, LLC, No. 20cv27 (Doc. 60)) be, and are hereby, GRANTED;(3) Defendants' motions to strike (Sandmann v. New York Times, No. 20cv23 (Doc. 64); Sandmann v. CBS News, No. 20cv24 (Doc. 72); Sandmann v. ABC News, Inc., No. 20cv25 (Doc. 78); Sandmann v. Gannett Co., Inc., No. 20cv26 (Doc. 78); Sandmann v. Rolling Stone, LLC, No. 20cv27 (Doc. 72)) be, and are hereby, DENIED AS MOOT; and(4) Separate judgments shall enter concurrently herewith in each of these cases. Signed by Judge William O. Bertelsman on 7/26/2022.(TJZ)cc: COR (Entered: 07/26/2022)

#89

(#89) ORDER: that the oral argument set for Tuesday, July 26, 2022 be, and is hereby, CANCELLED. All pending motions (Docs. #58 , #59 , #72 ) are hereby TAKEN UNDER SUBMISSION. Signed by Judge William O. Bertelsman on 7/21/2022.(ECO)cc: COR (Entered: 07/21/2022)

#88

(#88) ORDER that counsel are not allowed to bring cell phones into court during this hearing. Laptops needed for presentations or note taking are permitted on the express condition that no recording or streaming of the proceedings is permitted, and the laptops may not be used to access the internet while in the courtroom. Signed by Judge William O. Bertelsman on 7/19/2022.(ECO)cc: COR (Entered: 07/19/2022)

#86

(#86) ORDER: that defendant shall file a list identifying by description the complete list of exhibits used in plaintiff's deposition on or before Friday, July 8, 2022. Signed by Judge William O. Bertelsman on 7/6/2022.(ECO)cc: COR (Entered: 07/06/2022)

1 #12

Summons CBS Interactive, Inc.

1 #11

Summons ViacomCBS, Inc.

1 #10

Summons CBS News, Inc.

1 #9

Civil Cover Sheet

1 #8

Exhibit H Retraction Demand

1 #5

Exhibit E-GCI Report

1 #3

Exhibit C-Nicholas' January 20 Statement

1 #2

Exhibit B-WaPo Editor's Note

1 #1

Exhibit A-Fox40 Statement

78 More Documents Available
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Docket Entries

  • 07/26/2022
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  • Docket(#91) JUDGMENT is ENTERED IN DEFENDANT'S FAVOR. This matter is STRICKEN from the docket of this Court. Signed by Judge William O. Bertelsman on 7/26/2022.(TJZ)cc: COR (Entered: 07/26/2022)

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  • 07/26/2022
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  • Docket(#90) MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER: (1) Plaintiff's motions for partial summary judgment on the issue of falsity (Sandmann v. New York Times, No. 20cv23 (Doc. 52); Sandmann v. CBS News, No. 20cv24 (Doc. 58); Sandmann v. ABC News, Inc., No. 20cv25 (Doc. 64); Sandmann v. Gannett Co., Inc., No. 20cv26 (Doc. 65); Sandmann v. Rolling Stone, LLC, No. 20cv27 (Doc. 59)) be, and are hereby, DENIED AS MOOT;(2) Defendants' joint motions for summary judgment (Sandmann v. New York Times, No. 20cv23 (Doc. 53); Sandmann v. CBS News, No. 20cv24 (Doc. 59); Sandmann v. ABC News, Inc., No. 20cv25 (Doc. 65); Sandmann v. Gannett Co., Inc., No. 20cv26 (Doc. 66); Sandmann v. Rolling Stone, LLC, No. 20cv27 (Doc. 60)) be, and are hereby, GRANTED;(3) Defendants' motions to strike (Sandmann v. New York Times, No. 20cv23 (Doc. 64); Sandmann v. CBS News, No. 20cv24 (Doc. 72); Sandmann v. ABC News, Inc., No. 20cv25 (Doc. 78); Sandmann v. Gannett Co., Inc., No. 20cv26 (Doc. 78); Sandmann v. Rolling Stone, LLC, No. 20cv27 (Doc. 72)) be, and are hereby, DENIED AS MOOT; and(4) Separate judgments shall enter concurrently herewith in each of these cases. Signed by Judge William O. Bertelsman on 7/26/2022.(TJZ)cc: COR (Entered: 07/26/2022)

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  • 07/21/2022
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  • Docket(#89) ORDER: that the oral argument set for Tuesday, July 26, 2022 be, and is hereby, CANCELLED. All pending motions (Docs. #58 , #59 , #72 ) are hereby TAKEN UNDER SUBMISSION. Signed by Judge William O. Bertelsman on 7/21/2022.(ECO)cc: COR (Entered: 07/21/2022)

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  • 07/19/2022
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  • Docket(#88) ORDER that counsel are not allowed to bring cell phones into court during this hearing. Laptops needed for presentations or note taking are permitted on the express condition that no recording or streaming of the proceedings is permitted, and the laptops may not be used to access the internet while in the courtroom. Signed by Judge William O. Bertelsman on 7/19/2022.(ECO)cc: COR (Entered: 07/19/2022)

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  • 07/11/2022
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  • Docket***FILE SUBMITTED TO CHAMBERS of William O. Bertelsman for review: #87 Notice of Filing Complete List of Exhibits used in Plf's Deposition re: #86 Order (ECO) (Entered: 07/11/2022)

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  • 07/08/2022
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  • Docket(#87) NOTICE OF FILING by CBS Interactive, Inc., CBS News, Inc., ViacomCBS, Inc. Notice of Filing of Complete List of Exhibits Used in Plaintiff Nicholas Sandmann's Deposition (Attachments: #1 Exhibit List)(Spears, Natalie) (Entered: 07/08/2022)

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  • 07/06/2022
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  • Docket(#86) ORDER: that defendant shall file a list identifying by description the complete list of exhibits used in plaintiff's deposition on or before Friday, July 8, 2022. Signed by Judge William O. Bertelsman on 7/6/2022.(ECO)cc: COR (Entered: 07/06/2022)

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  • 06/24/2022
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  • Docket(#85) ORDER: (1) The above hearing shall begin at 9:00 a.m., not 1:00 p.m.; (2) Defendants shall designate one attorney to argue the opinion versus fact issue raised in their joint motion for summary judgment. This issue will be argued first. (3) Defendants shall also designate one attorney to argue the alternative "substantial truth" issue raised in their joint motion for summary judgment and in plaintiff's motion for summary judgment. This issue will be argued second. (4) After lunch, defendants will argue the issues raised in their supplemental motions for summary judgment that are specific to their respective publications. (5) The Court will then take the motions under submission with written opinions to follow. (Parties to see Order for Details). Signed by Judge William O. Bertelsman on 6/24/2022.(ECO)cc: COR (Entered: 06/24/2022)

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  • 06/17/2022
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  • Docket(#84) ORDER: that oral argument on these motions ( #58 , #59 , #72 ) be, and is hereby, SET FOR TUESDAY, JULY 26, 2022 AT 1:00 P.M. An order setting the format for this argument will follow. Signed by Judge William O. Bertelsman on 6/17/2022.(ECO)cc: COR (Entered: 06/17/2022)

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  • 05/23/2022
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  • Docket(#83) NOTICE OF FILING by CBS Interactive, Inc., CBS News, Inc., ViacomCBS, Inc. Notice of Filing of Deposition Transcript of Nicholas Sandmann (Attachments: #1 Exhibit 1: Deposition of Nicholas Sandmann taken September 13-14, 2021)(Spears, Natalie) (Entered: 05/23/2022)

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101 More Docket Entries
  • 03/25/2020
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  • DocketClerk's Note: re #8 NOTICE OF APPEARANCE. Counsel's office called and advised Clerk that the proposed Order attached to this document #8 was attached by mistake. (ECO) (Entered: 03/25/2020)

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  • 03/25/2020
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  • Docket(#8) NOTICE OF APPEARANCE by CBS Interactive, Inc., CBS News, Inc., ViacomCBS, Inc.. (Attachments: #1 "Incorrect Proposed Order filed in this entry.")(Cox, Jared) Modified text on 3/26/2020 (ECO). (Entered: 03/25/2020)

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  • 03/23/2020
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  • Docket***MOTION SUBMITTED TO CHAMBERS of Candace J. Smith for review: re #7 MOTION for L. Lin Wood to Appear Pro Hac Vice by Nicholas Sandmann ( Filing fee $125; receipt number 0643-4627847) (ECO) (Entered: 03/23/2020)

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  • 03/23/2020
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  • DocketBAR STATUS Check completed as to L. Lin Wood re #7 MOTION for L. Lin Wood to Appear Pro Hac Vice by Nicholas Sandmann ( Filing fee $125; receipt number 0643-4627847). (ECO) (Entered: 03/23/2020)

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  • 03/23/2020
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  • Docket(#7) MOTION for L. Lin Wood to Appear Pro Hac Vice by Nicholas Sandmann ( Filing fee $125; receipt number 0643-4627847)Motions referred to Candace J. Smith. (Attachments: #1 Exhibit A: Certificate of Good Standing, #2 Proposed Order)(McMurtry, Todd) (Entered: 03/23/2020)

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  • 03/03/2020
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  • Docket(#5) ORDER: This matter is REASSIGNED to Hon. William O. Bertelsman of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky. Signed by Judge David L. Bunning on 3/3/2020.(TJZ)cc: COR (Entered: 03/03/2020)

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  • 03/02/2020
  • DocketConflict Check run. (ECO) (Entered: 03/02/2020)

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  • 03/02/2020
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  • Docket(#4) Summons Issued as to All Defendants ; Summons issued and returned to counsel electronically (ECO) (Entered: 03/02/2020)

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  • 03/02/2020
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  • Docket(#3) STANDING REFERRAL ORDER: 1) Case referred to assigned U.S. Magistrate Judge at Covington to supervise discovery and pretrial proceedings; 2) Magistrate Judge is authorized to conduct all pretrial and status conferences, to hold such hearings as may be required, and to rule on nondispositive motions, except motions in limine. Dispositive motions and motions in limine will be referred to the undersigned. The final pretrial conference and trial will also be before the undersigned, unless parties agree to a trial by a Magistrate Judge; 3) Discovery disputes shall be resolved in the following manner: (1) Parties to meet/confer in an attempt to resolve disputes; (2) If parties unable to resolve such disputes formally, they shall attempt to resolve their disagreements by telephone conference with the Magistrate Judge; 3) If parties unable to resolve their disputes after conference with the Magistrate Judge, they may file appropriate written motions with the Court, which shall include the certification required. Signed by Judge David L. Bunning on 1/13/2011.(ECO)cc: COR (Entered: 03/02/2020)

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  • 03/02/2020
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  • Docket(#1) COMPLAINT WITH JURY DEMAND ( Filing fee $400; receipt number 0643-4608912), filed by Nicholas Sandmann. (Attachments: #1 Exhibit A-Fox40 Statement, #2 Exhibit B-WaPo Editor's Note, #3 Exhibit C-Nicholas' January 20 Statement, #4 Exhibit D-Diocese of Covington Letter January 25, #5 Exhibit E-GCI Report, #6 Exhibit F-Diocese of Covington Lettter February 11, #7 Exhibit G-CBSN Online Article, #8 Exhibit H Retraction Demand, #9 Civil Cover Sheet, #10 Summons CBS News, Inc., #11 Summons ViacomCBS, Inc., #12 Summons CBS Interactive, Inc.)(ECO) (Entered: 03/02/2020)

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