Daily News columnist and Alycia Lane settle case

Larry Mendte and Alycia Lane as CBS3 coanchors in 2004.He pleaded guilty in 2008 to hacking into her e-mail account and remains a defendant in her civil suit, set for trial in April.
Larry Mendte and Alycia Lane as CBS3 coanchors in 2004.He pleaded guilty in 2008 to hacking into her e-mail account and remains a defendant in her civil suit, set for trial in April.
Posted: January 15, 2011

Philadelphia Daily News gossip columnist Dan Gross has been dropped as a defendant from a civil lawsuit brought by former CBS3 anchor Alycia Lane after they agreed to a settlement.

Common Pleas Court Judge Howland W. Abramson signed an order Tuesday dismissing Lane's claims against Gross in a suit that also names her former CBS3 coanchor Larry Mendte and others as defendants.

Gross "was named because he was used as one of the vehicles for Mr. Mendte's unlawful invasion of her privacy," said Lane's attorney, Paul Rosen, of the Center City law firm Spector Gadon & Rosen. "Of course, we were pleased with the settlement, and it made a nice Christmas present for Alycia Lane."

Gross said Friday, "While I am confident I would have been vindicated had the case gone to trial, as I did nothing wrong, I am glad that a settlement was reached and that I can put the matter behind me."

The suit, filed in 2008, alleged that Mendte, Gross, and the other defendants invaded Lane's privacy by making public her private e-mails and photographs. It also accuses CBS3 and its former president and general manager, Michael Colleran, of defaming Lane when the station ended her employment. Mendte, CBS3, and Colleran remain defendants in the case, which is expected to go to trial in April.

The suit followed a 2007 incident in which Lane was arrested and accused of striking a New York City police officer. The charges were later dismissed.

In 2008, a U.S. District Court judge sentenced Mendte to house arrest and three years' probation after he pleaded guilty to hacking into Lane's e-mail account. The suit claims that after Mendte illegally obtained the e-mails, Gross published that information.

Lawyers for Gross and Lane declined to discuss the terms of the confidential settlement.

Rosen said he expected that Gross would testify at the trial.

Also originally named in the lawsuit was Philadelphia Media Holdings, which at the time owned the Daily News as well as The Inquirer and Philly.com. The company was dropped from the suit during its bankruptcy proceedings.

The newspapers' current owner said it was not involved in the settlement or the case. "It wouldn't be appropriate for Philadelphia Media Network Inc. to comment on a legal issue and settlement that was litigated in its entirety with the previous ownership, and in which the current ownership has not been involved," said Mark Block, vice president of external relations for Philadelphia Media Network Inc.


Contact staff writer Carolyn Davis at 215-854-4214 or cdavis@phillynews.com.

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