Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman is following through with a defamation lawsuit against the television network Al Jazeera and reporter Deborah Davies over the December report that alleged he received performance enhancing drugs from an anti-aging clinic.
Zimmerman's lawsuit has been filed along with a group of attorneys from the D.C.-based law office Quinn Emanuel. He is suing on the counts of libel and false light invasion of privacy with the goal of recouping damages through a trial by jury.
Zimmerman also wants a "retraction of all false and defamatory statements about Plaintiff in the New York Times or a similar newspaper with nationwide distribution," according to court documents.
Here is a summary of the case as specified in the lawsuit:
"This is a suit to redress an unjust injury to the public image and reputation of Major League Baseball (“MLB”) player Ryan Wallace Zimmerman, which have been damaged by outrageously false and defamatory statements recklessly published by Al Jazeera. As detailed below, Defendants publicly smeared Mr. Zimmerman with false and unsubstantiated allegations of performance-enhancing drug use, based on uncorroborated accusations by a third party that had been unequivocally recanted prior to Defendants’ publication. Defendants knew full well that their “source” had recanted his scandalous and untrue allegations against Mr. Zimmerman but, abdicating all journalistic responsibilities, Defendants nonetheless chose to publish their defamatory story in an attempt to stir scandal and increase Al Jazeera’s low ratings, no matter the cost to Mr. Zimmerman."
Zimmerman's lawyers assert that the Nats' slugger has "suffered reputational harm that has affected and will continue to affect him in his main profession—as a professional baseball player—as well as in future sponsorship and other business opportunities and in charitable pursuits."
The lawsuit lists Zimmerman's many accomplishments in both baseball and off-the-field charity work, detailing the accolades he earned at the University of Virginia as well as in the majors. His attorneys also describe Al Jazeera's struggle with ratings, other lawsuits and the departure of several top executives due to a "culture of fear" at the network.
The lawsuit also provides several more details as to the timeline of the report and when Zimmerman learned of it. He was notified on Dec. 9, weeks before it was made public, and a cease-and-desist letter was sent to the network. The Al Jazeera report also implicated Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard.