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Ex-NFLer Van Horne Loses Court Bid

October 4, 1999

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Former Chicago Bears football player Keith Van Horne failed today in a Supreme Court bid to revive the negligent-hiring allegations of his lawsuit against the radio station that employed a disc jockey he says defamed him.

The court turned away without comment Van Horne’s argument that WRCX should be financially liable for having hired and retained ``shock jock″ Matthew ``Mancow″ Muller, known for outrageous on-air conduct.

The part of Van Horne’s lawsuit that accuses Muller and sidekick Irma Blanco of defamation is still pending in a state court. So is the part that accuses the station of negligent supervision and retention of Muller.

But the Illinois Supreme Court killed that part of the lawsuit seeking millions of dollars from WRCX for allegedly negligent hiring.

The lawsuit stems from a 1994 broadcast in which Muller and Blanco repeatedly accused Van Horne, then a personality on radio station WLUP, of attacking Muller and threatening his life. Van Horne’s lawsuit said the accusations were false.

The state’s highest court let Van Horne’s claims against Muller and Blanco proceed to trial but ruled that letting him sue the station would place a ``chilling effect″ on free speech because media employers would be reluctant to hire controversial people.

WRCX is owned by Evergreen Media Corp., which in 1997 merged with Chancellor Media Corp. Muller left that station in 1997.

The case is Van Horne vs. Evergreen Media Corp., 98-1745.

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