Figure skater Oksana Baiul has been ordered to pay NBC’s legal fees after a judge determined that her lawsuits against NBCUniversal Media, LLC, NBC Sports Network, and skating promoter Stephen Disson included “wild claims” that Baiul was owed millions of dollars in compensation for a damaged reputation. The judge ruled that Baiul must pay at least $35,000 in compensation.
The lawsuit stemmed from Baiul’s allegations that her image was used in promotional material for two televised skating specials that she had not agreed to appear in. She maintained that this created the false impression that she was a “no show” and marred her reputation with fans. In an interview with the New York Post, Disson’s lawyer, Joe Tacopina, stated that Baiul likely was looking for attention when she filed the lawsuit. Baiul won a gold medal in the 1994 Olympics.
Manhattan Federal Judge Katherine Forrest threw out Baiul’s lawsuit, stating in a 38-page opinion that Baiul had presented no credible evidence that she had suffered or would suffer any damages in connection with the defendants’ alleged conduct. Disson said that Baiul’s agent approached him about his client appearing in the shows, but Baiul backed out three weeks later.