Bernie Fine Drops Libel Lawsuit Against ESPN over Sex Abuse Claims, Wife St

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Bernie Fine (Credit: YouTube, "ABCNews," screenshot)

Bernie Fine, a former basketball coach at Syracuse University, is no longer suing ESPN over its reporting on accusations of sexual abuse against him.

ESPN and The Syracuse Post-Standard had reported back in 2011 on accusations that Fine had molested two ball boys. Shortly thereafter, Fine was fired as assistant men’s basketball coach for Syracuse University. Fine hasn’t been charged related to the accusations, which he denied and both allegedly happened outside of the statute of limitations for any possible charges, noted.

The July 2 “notice of voluntary dismissal” in Fine’s case is published over on Scribd.

According to Syracuse University campus newspaper the Daily Orange, Fine’s lawyers at Harris Beach PLLC defended his lawsuit against ESPN while ending the action. Harris Beach provided iMediaEthics with Fine’s statement, which reads:

“On Tuesday, July 2, 2013, Bernie Fine filed a voluntary Notice of Dismissal of his lawsuit against ESPN, ending all litigation.  Although Mr. Fine and his attorneys are convinced that his legal claim has merit, Mr. Fine desires to finally put all of the turmoil of the past year and a half behind him, so that he may concentrate on his future as well as the future of his family.  Mr. Fine has been and continues to be overwhelmed by the many, many friends who have stood by him and who provided him with the strength to get through the most difficult time in his life.  He will be forever grateful for their support and friendship.”

NBC Sports reported that Fine’s lawsuit had called for $11 million and the hearing would have been July 18.

In late June, CNY Central reported that Fine had made a request to “consolidate” his lawsuit with that of his wife, Laurie Fine, who is separately suing for libel over reports that implicated her in the scandal. A copy of that June request to join the cases is posted on Scribd.  According to, no decision had been made yet.

Bernie Fine’s lawyer Richard Sullivan told iMediaEthics that his “decision had nothing to do with the Pre-Trial consolidation.”

Fine’s wife is continuing her lawsuit against ESPN for its reporting on her, the Daily Orange added.

According to Bleacher Report, ESPN declined to comment on Bernie Fine’s dropped lawsuit because of Laurie Fine’s ongoing lawsuit. However, ESPN did say that Bernie Fine’s decision wasn’t “the result of a settlement.”  ESPN’s Josh Krulewitz told iMediaEthics by email:

“Given the continued pendency of the Laurie Fine matter, which we will continue to defend vigorously, we will not discuss litigation. We can confirm this action is not the result of a settlement and that Bernie Fine or his lawyers would have to be contacted regarding their reasons for doing this.”

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