Covington Catholic teen’s $275 million lawsuit against NBCUniversal can proceed, judge rules

U.S. District Court Judge William Bertelsman dismissed parts of the lawsuit while allowing discovery on allegations that the network’s coverage defamed the teen by reporting that he “blocked” Native American elder Nathan Phillips in a Jan. 18 encounter at the Lincoln Memorial.

“[T]he court finds that the statements that plaintiff ‘blocked’ Phillips or did not allow him to retreat, if false, meet the test of being libelous per se under the definition quoted above,” said Judge Bertelsman in his order.

Judge Bertelsman initially dismissed the $250 million lawsuit against the Washington Post, but in October, he allowed an amended complaint concerning three of the 33 allegedly libelous statements to go forward. All three pertained to reports that the teen had blocked Mr. Phillips.

“As predicted, today Judge Bertelsman entered an order allowing the Nicholas Sandmann case against NBCUniversal to proceed to discovery just as he had earlier ruled with respect to WaPo & CNN cases. Huge, huge win!” tweeted Sandmann attorney L. Lin Wood.

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