Client's Defamation Suit Over Cumulus/Nashville 'Apology' To Competitor Gets Moved To Federal Court
September 26, 2014 at 3:58 AM (PT)
A suit brought by SERVICE JEWELRY REPAIR, INC. against CUMULUS MEDIA, INC. for defamation, disparagement, and disseminating false and damaging statements about the plaintiff in an apology spot run to mollify a competing jeweler has been removed from DAVIDSON COUNTY Circuit Court in TENNESSEE to U.S. District Court for the Middle District of TENNESSEE, upon the motion of CUMULUS.
The complaint, filed in the county court on AUGUST 25th, says that NBC affiliate WSMV-TV and reporter DEMETRIA KALODIMAS ran reports in MAY that questioned the quality of diamonds at a competitor, GENESIS DIAMONDS, after which SERVICE JEWELRY, a client of CUMULUS with endorsement spots voiced by News-Talk WWTN (SUPER TALK 99.7 WTN) host MICHAEL DELGIORNO, bought a schedule on CUMULUS stations with an offer to diamond buyers of free consultations with a gemologist to examine their purchases. In accompanying live spots, DELGIORNO named GENESIS in referring to the WSMV reports and said GENESIS had sold diamonds with "greatly inflated" and "hyped-up grades," comments the plaintiff said are "entirely truthful."
But after GENESIS complained, CUMULUS ran an apology on-air and on its website that SERVICE JEWELRY says DELGIORNO was forced to read under threat of termination that said, "I was given some commercial copy by the other jeweler and I relied entirely on the information provided" and termed that information "untrue or unfair." Another apology also blamed the comments on "a competitor." The suit alleges that CUMULUS' "bungling" portrayed the plaintiff as dishonest and seeks treble damages.