bernie fine

Bernie Fine drops $11 million lawsuit against ESPN

UPDATED: July 2, 2013 at 10:05 p.m.

Bernie Fine, the former associate men’s head basketball coach fired in November 2011 over sexual abuse allegations, has dropped his $11 million defamation lawsuit against ESPN Inc.

Fine sued ESPN for reporting sexual abuse claims from former Syracuse University basketball ball boys Mike Lang and Bobby Davis. Fine denied all allegations and wasn’t charged after an almost year-long federal investigation found insufficient evidence.

A summons for Bernie Fine’s lawsuit was filed in Onondaga County Supreme Court in November 2012, and the case was later transferred to federal court last month. The lawsuit was dropped on Tuesday, according to a document filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York.

“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,” Fine’s Harris Beach PLLC lawyers said in a statement.

William Albert, senior manager of media and community relations for Harris Beach PLLC, said he couldn’t comment further.

When contacted by The Daily Orange, a person reached at Fine’s home hung up.

His lawyer, Richard Sullivan, couldn’t be reached by phone or email.

ESPN Director of Communications David Scott said in a statement there was no settlement made, but would not discuss the litigation because Laurie Fine’s lawsuit against the company is still pending.

In May 2012, Laurie Fine – Bernie Fine’s wife – filed a libel lawsuit against ESPN and two of its employees, reporter Mark Schwarz and producer Arty Berko. In February, a federal judge dismissed one of the six claims in the lawsuit.

Her lawyer, Lawrence Fisher, said in an email the decision “changes nothing in the matter of Laurie Fine versus ESPN.”

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