One of Trevor Bauer’s lawsuits has come to a conclusion. Bauer missed half of the 2021 season on administrative leave following published allegations of sexual misconduct and then was suspended for 324 games by MLB, a sentence eventually reduced to 192 games by an arbitrator. He’s now playing professionally in Japan, winning his first start there Wednesday. Ahead of that, he and the new Deadspin came to an agreement where he’ll drop his appeal of his defamation lawsuit against them, with both sides paying their own costs. Here’s more on that from Y. Peter Kang at Law 360:
The Second Circuit on Monday acknowledged that Bauer and G/O Media Inc. have agreed to end a nascent appeal and each pay their own legal fees, effectively putting an end to a suit accusing sports blog Deadspin of publishing a defamatory article by managing editor Chris Baud stating that Bauer gave a woman a skull fracture during a sexual assault, at a time when other news outlets were reporting that a CT scan had found no fracture.
…Bauer had claimed the article falsely stated that his lawyer failed to deny Bauer’s responsibility for injuries to his accuser, falsely stated he fractured the woman’s skull and falsely reported that there was a skull fracture at all.
But Judge Crotty said medical records indicated a doctor diagnosed the woman with “significant head and facial trauma” and symptoms of a basilar skull fracture following her encounter with Bauer.
“Those symptoms were not merely ‘self-reported’ but based on a physician’s initial examination and observation of [the woman],” Judge Crotty said. “Whether those injuries included a skull fracture or simply ‘significant head and facial trauma’ and bruising does not change the nature of the accusations, nor would it produce a different effect on the mind of the reader.”
The article in question by Baud, “Trevor Bauer should never pitch again,” ran at Deadspin in July 2021. That was well into the new era of Deadspin following the 2019 resignations of the entire staff after then-managing editor Barry Petchesky was fired for not sticking to sports. After the March dismissal of the lawsuit from Crotty, Deadspin ran a piece from Julie DiCaro titled “Trevor Bauer sued us–and lost,” which stated that “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.”
With Bauer’s decision to drop his appeal, that loss is now more final than it was at the time Deadspin ran that piece. But this case, which was initially filed in March 2022, still racked up plenty of legal costs for the publication. And Bauer is in fact pitching again, just in Japan.
This is not the only litigation from Bauer. He has an ongoing defamation suit against The Athletic and former The Athletic writer Molly Knight. The latest there is lawyers from The Athletic’s parent company, The New York Times, arguing for a dismissal there in March. The debate about the skull fracture and how it was reported is also central there.
[Law 360; photo of Bauer in June 2021 from Mark J. Rebilas/USA Today Sports]