One-time KAKE reporter and part-time anchor Jared Cerullo has filed a lawsuit against his former employer, citing breach of contract and defamation.
The Wichita Business Journal reports that the lawsuit filed on Aug. 23, names Gray Television Group Inc., the parent company of KAKE, and Michael Sipes, KAKE’s news director.
Sipes, who became KAKE’s news director in January, says he cannot comment on the lawsuit.
Cerullo is seeking damages in excess of $75,000.
The suit alleges that Cerullo was wrongly terminated for information he shared through Twitter and during an on-air newscast about how a defendant in a murder case pleaded during a June preliminary hearing.
Cerullo incorrectly reported that that person entered a plea of guilty, when, in fact, the defendant pleaded not guilty and waived his right to a preliminary hearing, meaning the case was bound over for a jury trial.
Notified of the error, Cerullo corrected his mistake on Twitter and later issued an on-air correction and apology.
Cerullo, according to court documents filed with Sedgwick County District Court, was suspended on June 25 only to have his employment contract terminated a day later for what was characterized as “gross negligence.”
Cerullo’s termination sparked a firestorm among some KAKE viewers, some of whom launched a Facebook campaign demanding he be reinstated.
In June, Cerullo shared his story during an interview for a local radio show, telling the host that he made a mistake but the “punishment didn’t fit the crime.”