HOLLYWOOD — The Michigan Court of Appeals Wednesday overturned a $29 million jury verdict entered against “The Jenny Jones Show” in 1999 following the murder of a guest, Scott Amedure, by another guest, Jonathan Schmitz.
The court held that the show “had no duty to anticipate and prevent the act of murder committed by Schmitz three days after leaving the studio” and ordered the trial court to enter judgment on behalf of the show and its production company, Telepictures Productions.
A wrongful death lawsuit was filed by Amedure’s family after the murder. Both men had appeared as guests on an episode of “The Jenny Jones Show.” During the taping, Amedure, who was gay, revealed he had a crush on Schmitz. Days later, Schmitz went to Amedure’s home and killed him. Schmitz was convicted of second-degree murder and is currently serving a 27-50 year sentence.
In the wrongful death action, Amedure’s family claimed he was “ambushed” into appearing on the show and was not told it was a segment about same-sex crushes. The action alleged that Warner Bros., which owns the “Jenny Jones Show,” knew the show would incite violence.
In its eight-page ruling, the Michigan Court of Appeals found that Amedure’s murder was completely unforeseeable, and that while the show might be the epitome of bad taste and sensationalism, there was no duty to predict and prevent the murder.
The three-judge panel reversed with one judge dissenting.