Former Anchor, Station Dismiss Lawsuit

A breach-of-contract lawsuit by a former Ft. Myers News Anchor against the station that fired him has been dismissed. 

Susan Chana Lask, the lawyer representing Matthew Dougherty, said that the case was settled by voluntary dismissal.

Court documents show both sides in the case agreed to the dismissal with prejudice.

The News-Press says that the original suit, filed Aug. 13, 2015, alleged that WINK News fired Dougherty, 33, on July 27 because he would not destroy notes, video, photos and other information related to a story involving about 100 boxes of patient medical records, including credit card receipts, shot records, Social Security numbers and other detailed patient information found in an auctioned-off storage unit

"This means that Matt did nothing wrong," Lask said of the settlement. She added that Dougherty is looking for an anchor position. "He had to wait to get this behind him,"

The suit alleged that once WINK news director Russ Kilgore saw that the story involved Dr. Gerardo A. Gamez, his family physician, he directed Dougherty and his producers to “kill the story.”

In an amended filing last year the suit added Kilgore and Joe Schwartzel, WINK's general manager, Dr. Gamez and Maria Gamez, believed to be the doctor's wife, Lee Memorial Hospital and Lee Memorial Health System as defendants.

Lask said that the day the settlement was signed Kilgore left the station.

Schwartzel confirmed that Kilghore had left WINK and declined to comment further citing the personnel nature of the issue.

Kilgore is being replaced by Tom Doerr, which was first reported by FTVLive.