If Dave hasn’t cheated on his longtime girlfriend since his son was born in 2003, he and CBS could be home free in civil court.
As we roll into day three of the David Letterman extortion story, focus is shifting to the the trouble Dave and CBS might be in. And the first civil suit that comes to mind when you have a head honcho (and a rich one) having sexual relationships with younger female employees is, of course, sexual harassment.
What so far is unclear is when Letterman’s sexual relationships with staffers occurr
ed, other than the one with former Late Show staffer who had a relationship with Joe Halderman, the accused extortionist.
Letterman’s relationship with Stephanie Birkitt reportedly ended in 2003. The statute of limitations in New York for bringing a sexual harassment claim is three years, which basically means a suit must be filed within three years of the harassment. (There is some caselaw extending the statute of limitations where there is severe psychological trauma, but it’s a rare exception.)
It’s also important to remember that it is not sexual harassment just because the old boss has sex with the assistant. The WSJ Law Blog has a worthwhile breakdown of the legal standards, but the bottom line is it matters if the relationship was welcomed or not, and if the plaintiff felt intimidated in relation to her job or her work environment.
As we continue to learn more about Letterman’s sex life than we ever wanted, lawyers at CBS are probably sitting down with Dave, creating a timeline they never expected.
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