The Jenny Jones Show was a popular talk show broadcast for 12 years, from September 1991 until the winter of 2003, one of the many media exploiting talk shows supposedly featuring real people with compelling personal stories. On an episode called “Same-Sex Secret Crushes” taped on March 6, 1995, a gay man named Scott Amedure confessed his love for his friend, Jonathan Schmitz. While on the show, Schmitz reacted with laughter, but he became disturbed by the incident later. He had a history of mental illness and alcohol/drug abuse. Three days after the show’s taping, Schmitz killed Amedure, and was later convicted of second-degree murder and received a sentence of 25–50 years in prison. The episode was never aired. According to the testimony at the murder trial, three days after the taping, Amedure left a “suggestive” note at Schmitz’s house. After finding the note, Schmitz withdrew money from the bank, purchased a shotgun, and then went to Amedure’s mobile home. There, he questioned Amedure about the note, to which Amedure just smiled. Schmitz then returned to his car, got his gun and returned to Amedure’s trailer. He then shot Amedure twice in the chest, killing him. After killing Amedure, Schmitz left the residence, called 911, and confessed to the killing. In 1999, Amedure’s family then retained Geoffrey Fieger and sued the producers of The Jenny Jones Show, Telepictures, and Warner Brothers for the ambush tactics and negligent role that led to Amedure’s death. Amedure’s family won the initial ruling, and the show was ordered to pay them $25 million, after a jury found that the Jenny Jones Show was both irresponsible and negligent, contending that the show intentionally created an explosive situation without due concern for the possible consequences. The judgment was later overturned by the Michigan Court of Appeals in a 2 to 1 decision. The Michigan Supreme Court declined to hear the case. The case is now studied in law school tort classes because of the legal significance of saying the show’s producers were not responsible for guests’ safety after they had left the studio.
Today, The Insider Exclusive, along with Geoffrey Fieger and Ven Johnson of Fieger, Fieger, Kenney, Johnson & Giroux and Judge Gene Schnelz, who upheld the $25 million verdict, will examine:
– What it’s like to take on a major media company.
– Irresponsibility and accountability in the media.
– Rules and standards that would limit or prevent improper behavior.
– The court system.
– Reversing the verdict.
– Fighting for the Little Guy.
– The retailing of emotional conflict for the casual pleasure of viewers.
– Why free speech will always prevail
Geoffrey Fieger devotes himself to getting justice for his clients. He is a tireless and fearless champion for those whose rights have been violated. He was the Democratic Party nominee for Governor of the State of Michigan in 1998, and the Detroit College of Law at Michigan State University recently named its school for the education of trial lawyers The Geoffrey Fieger Trial Practice Institute. In June 2008 after almost three years, Geoffrey, represented by the legendary Gerry Spence in his final trial, won his own court battle against the Gonzales/Rove/Bush Justice Department when he was acquitted on all counts of alleged illegal campaign donations. Geoffrey has two degrees from the University of Michigan (B.A., 1974; M.A.,1976) and received his law degree from the Detroit College of Law-Michigan State University (J.D., 1979). He is a member of the Michigan and Florida Bar Associations.
Ven Johnson was named a partner at Fieger, Fieger, Kenney, Johnson & Giroux in 2001 after working six years at the firm. Since joining the firm in 1995 he has worked on a number of high-profile cases and obtained numerous multimillion-dollar verdicts. He specializes in the areas of civil litigation, product liability, medical malpractice, automobile negligence and police misconduct. Ven earned his undergraduate degree at Kalamazoo College with athletic honors in basketball and tennis. He received his Juris Doctor at the University of Detroit School of Law, served as a law clerk for a sports and entertainment law firm in Detroit, and was an intern to the late Michigan Court of Appeals Judge John Shephard. Ven has also lectured on relevant legal issues for the Institute of Continuing Legal Education, the National Business Institute and the Straker Bar Association. He has assisted law students with mock trial preparation at the University of Detroit Mercy Law School.
Judge Gene Schnelz has just recently retired as an Oakland County Circuit Judge after 28 years of service. He is a graduate of Alma College, Michigan State University-Detroit College of Law and the National Judicial College. Prior to his judgeship, Judge Schnelz was a former attorney for Walled Lake, Wixom, Wolverine Lake, Milford, Milford Township, and Walled Lake School District. He is a recipient of the State Bar’s two highest awards for service to public and profession, the Oakland County Bar Association’s Frances R. Avadenka Memorial Award for public service, Women’s Bar Association Award for outstanding contributions, Jewish Association for Residential Care Civil Rights Award, Join Resolution of Michigan Legislature for public service, Jewish Association for Special Children Civil Rights Award.
Fieger, Fieger, Kenney, Johnson & Giroux was founded over 50 years ago by Geoffrey’s father, Bernard Fieger, in a small house which still stands as the cornerstone of Fieger Law. Today, FFKJG is a 40,000-square-foot elegant edifice with 60 employees occupying a quarter mile of land in Southfield, Michigan—a near suburb of Detroit. Today, the Fieger Law Firm is the top personal injury firm in the country. People turn to Geoffrey Fieger and the other attorneys at the firm for help when they have been the victims of injustice, medical malpractice or personal injury.
You can contact Geoffrey Fieger at 248-355-5555, or www.fiegerlaw.com