3:20pm PT by Eriq Gardner
Bill O'Reilly's $10 Million Fraud Lawsuit Against Lawyer Is Tossed on Appeal
Bill O'Reilly won't be collecting $10 million from Michael Klar, the attorney who once represented ex-wife Maureen McPhilmy in a bitter divorce.
The former Fox News star alleged in a lawsuit that Klar had aided and abetted McPhilmy in fraudulently inducing O'Reilly to enter into a separation agreement back in 2010. According to O'Reilly, his ex-wife made misrepresentations regarding her intent to comply with the terms of the separation agreement. A New York judge allowed the case to proceed over Klar's arguments, which O'Reilly forced to be kept hush-hush.
On Wednesday, as O'Reilly was making an unexpected appearance at the White House, a New York appeals court reversed the ruling.
The appeals court points to the statute of limitations on fraud claims, which is the greater of six years from the date of injury or two years upon discovery.
"Here, [Klar] sustained his initial burden on the motion to dismiss by demonstrating that the fraud causes of action herein arose out of and accrued upon the execution of the separation agreement in April 2010, which agreement provided that it was to be incorporated into, but not merged with, any ensuing judgment of divorce," states the appeals court decision." It is undisputed that the plaintiff commenced this action more than six years after the separation agreement was executed, and more than two years after the plaintiff discovered the alleged fraud. In response, the plaintiff failed to raise a question of fact warranting the denial of the defendant's motion."
The case was intriguing to reporters probing claims that O'Reilly mistreats women. Gawker reported in 2015 that trial transcripts showed O'Reilly's teenage daughter telling a forensic examiner that she witnessed O’Reilly “choking her mom" as he “dragged her down some stairs” by the neck, and that he struggles to control his rage.
Gizmodo, the successor to Gawker, has pushed for access to the divorce proceedings.
In a separate decision Wednesday by the appeals court, it was determined that certain materials connected to the sealing order should be unsealed, but that otherwise the judge had properly exercised discretion in keeping filings confidential.