According to a pending California lawsuit, the  American Broadcasting Companies (“ABC”) published an allegedly false depiction of Colorado resident David Williams’ (“Williams”) online relationship with former lover Kelley Cahill (“Kelley”) on its news show “20/20”.  Williams filed a lawsuit in the beginning of 2012 claiming defamation.

Williams filed that suit in Orange County California Superior Court and named as defendants ABC, Kelley, “20/20” presenter Christopher Cuomo (“Cuomo’) and “20/20” editor Jack Pyle (“Pyle”). Williams’ complaint stated that ABC failed to “engage in any, or any meaningful, research to determine whether [Kelley] was being truthful, and failed to give Williams any, or any adequate, opportunity to rebut [Kelley’s] allegations treating her story objectively.”  Williams requested a jury trial for libel and he claimed a publication of private facts, intrusion and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

“20/20” aired the show entitled “Blinded by Love: Kelley Cahill’s Ordeal” on June 24, 2011, and Williams claimed the show falsely portrayed him as an online dating predator and a villain, and portrayed Kelley as a victim.  Specifically, the show mentioned that Williams lied to Kelley about his marital status, and that Kelley had incurred increasing debt because of all the gifts she gave to Williams.  Further, the show mentioned that Williams preyed on a massive amount of women.

Kelley posted similar statements on different websites and ABC made the show continuously available to the public online at the network.  Williams contended that Kelley knew that he was separated from his wife during the time they were dating, and that he bought Kelley lavish gifts. It was alleged that Kelley chose to broadcast a fictitious version of their relationship to promote iCheckmates.com, Kelley’s business that enables subscribers to obtain a background check of people they meet online.

The complaint also stated that Cuomo falsely mentioned on the show that Williams declined to comment.  Williams asserted that when he was first contacted by ABC he told them to look at public records to uncover the truth.  Williams also claimed that he did not offer a statement to ABC because he did not have enough time to consult with his attorney before the show aired.

What the outcome of the dispute will be is unknown.

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© 2012 Nissenbaum Law Group, LLC