Settlement in $105M lawsuit over NBC's 'To Catch a Predator'
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Thursday, June 26th 2008, 8:37 AM
NBC Universal has settled a $105 million lawsuit brought by a woman who claimed a televised sex sting by "Dateline NBC: To Catch A Predator" drove her brother to kill himself.
"The matter has been amicably resolved to the satisfaction of both parties," said a statement released by both sides. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Patricia Conradt's lawsuit had claimed her brother, a suburban Dallas prosecutor, fatally shot himself after he was accused of engaging in a sexually explicit online chat with an adult posing as a 13-year-old boy.
The lawsuit claimed NBC "steamrolled" authorities to arrest Louis William Conradt Jr. after telling police he failed to show up at a sting operation 35 miles away.
NBC was working with the activist group Perverted Justice on the sting, in which people impersonating children established online chats with men and tried to lure them to a house, where they were met by TV cameras and police.
In February, a federal judge issued a scathing ruling in the case, saying a jury might conclude the network "crossed the line from responsible journalism to irresponsible and reckless intrusion into law enforcement."
U.S. District Judge Denny Chin said the lawsuit contained sufficient facts to make it plausible that the suicide was foreseeable, that police had a duty to protect Conradt from killing himself and that the officers and NBC acted with deliberate indifference.
New episodes of "To Catch A Predator" ended in December, with the future of the series uncertain.
"Right now we are working on other investigative stories focusing on national security and the economy," NBC spokeswoman Jenny Tartikoff said Wednesday in an e-mail. "If we do more, we want to make sure we are complementing past investigations not just repeating them."