Federal appeals court revives Seth Rich's family's lawsuit against Fox News

Federal appeals court revives Seth Rich's family's lawsuit against Fox News
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A federal appeals court on Friday ruled that the family of slain Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer Seth Rich can sue Fox News over its coverage of conspiracy theories regarding his death, reversing a lower court decision

The court ruled that Joel and Mary Rich can sue the network for emotional distress and other harm, according to a court order published in full by USA Today


"The Riches’ complaint plausibly alleges enough facts to state a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress — for extreme and outrageous conduct," the court order said. 

Rich's parents contend in their suit that Fox News promoted dangerous conspiracy theories that implied that their son, who was killed in 2016 in what Washington, D.C., police called a botched robbery, gave internal DNC emails to WikiLeaks during the presidential race. In particular, they point to a now-retracted article that said without evidence that Rich was responsible for the leak.

Network contributors and at least one host, Sean HannitySean Patrick HannityBiden pokes at Fox hosts: They've had 'altar call' on vaccines Fox News airs PSA telling viewers 'get the vaccine' Budowsky: How Biden can defeat COVID-19 for good MOREcontinued to promote the story after Fox retracted the article. 

A Fox News spokesperson told The Hill in a statement that “the court’s ruling today permits Mr. and Mrs. Rich to proceed with discovery to determine whether there is a factual basis for their claims against FOX News."

"While we extend the Rich family our deepest condolences for their loss, we believe that discovery will demonstrate that FOX News did not engage in conduct that will support the Riches’ claims. We will be evaluating our next legal steps,” the spokesperson added. 

“We would not wish what we have experienced upon any other parent — anywhere,” the Riches said in a statement provided to The Hill. “We appreciate the appellate court’s ruling and look forward to continuing to pursue justice.”

A judge originally dismissed the lawsuit last year.

—Updated at 4:10 p.m.