PARK HILLS, Ky. — A $250 million lawsuit — filed by the lawyers for the family of Nick Sandmann against The Washington Post — has been dismissed by a federal judge.
Judge William Bertelsman issued the ruling Friday.
Sandmann, 16, is the Covington Catholic High School junior at the center of a controversy after his face was depicted across social media, along with Native American protester Nathan Phillips.
Attorneys Lin Wood and Todd McMurtry filed the lawsuit on behalf of Sandmann and his family. It was the first in a series of lawsuits filed against several media outlets.
The lawsuit claims that the Post “wrongfully targeted and bullied Nicholas because he was the white, Catholic student wearing a red ‘Make America Great Again’ souvenir cap on a school field trip to the January 18 March for Life in Washington, D.C.”
The lawsuit adds that the Post engaged in “a modern-day form of McCarthyism” and “ignored basic journalist standards.”
“They didn’t investigate it,” Wood said. “They got it wrong. They published the false narrative and did not publish the truth.”
The encounter happened in January, during a trip Sandmann and classmates from Covington Catholic High School made to an anti-abortion event.
At one point, Sandmann came face-to-face with a Native American man named Nathan Phillips. Some considered Sandmann’s reaction to Phillips disrespectful, or even worse, with thousands of people weighing in on social media.
But the initial perception many people had of the interaction changed as more reports and more video surfaced.
An attorney for the paper, Kevin Baine, defended the reports in question and argued Sandmann’s claims don’t rise to the level of defamation.