A New York judge dismissed a lawsuit the former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher had filed against Deadspin and its managing editor on Wednesday, per the Los Angeles Times.
Bauer was accused of domestic violence and sexual assault in 2021 and eventually filed six defamation lawsuits over details in the initial media coverage as well as statements made by the accuser and her lawyer.
Bauer had claimed in his Deadspin lawsuit that he had been defamed by initial reports that the woman’s skill had been fractured during their sexual encounter. Initial reports surrounding the woman’s request for a restraining order included a doctor’s observation of symptoms consistent with a skull fracture. However, a CT scan included in court documents ruled out a fracture and the official medical report’s diagnosis was “acute head injury.”
U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty said that Bauer was not correct in suggesting that the accuser’s possible skull fracture was “self-reported.”
“The Petition and accompanying medical records indicate that, following (the woman’s’) encounter with Bauer, a doctor — (not the woman) herself — diagnosed her with “significant head and facial trauma” and symptoms of a basilar skull fracture, including “racoon eyes” and a “Battle’s sign,” which are observable indicators of a potential fracture,” Crotty wrote. “Those symptoms were not merely ‘self-reported,’ but based on a physician’s initial examination and observation of (the woman). This means that the true bridge between the contested Statements — (Bauer) fractured (the woman’s) skull as diagnosed by an initial CT scan-and reality — (Bauer) caused (the woman) facial trauma that a doctor initially diagnosed as symptoms of a skull fracture — is small enough to render the ‘gist’ or ‘sting’ of the statements unchanged.”
The judge also noted that the Deadspin article in question did not misrepresent the allegations that were included in the request for a restraining order.
“Whether those injuries included a skull fracture or simply ‘significant head and facial trauma’ and bruising does not change the nature of the accusations,” Crotty wrote, “nor would it produce a different effect on the mind of the reader.”
The website celebrated the legal victory on Wednesday.
“We at Deadspin are heartened by the decision and remain committed to reporting on and exposing violence against women by athletes, no matter how famous,” wrote Julie DiCaro on Deadspin.
In November, a judge granted a motion to strike Bauer’s claims against his accuser’s former lawyer, Niranjan “Fred” Thiagarajah, and also rejected Bauer’s motion to strike the accuser’s counterclaims against him. In December, a judge dismissed a count from Bauer’s defamation complaint against The Athletic but maintained that writer Molly Knight was still potentially liable, though that decision is being appealed.
In January, the Dodgers parted ways with Bauer, who was suspended from early July 2021 through late December 2022 while an investigation around the sexual assault allegations took place.