Former Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer sued Deadspin and former managing editor Chris Baud over three statements in this article from 2021, written about a temporary restraining order a woman sought after a sexual encounter with Bauer. According to the woman, the sex was initially consensual but turned into a violent sexual assault. Bauer claimed that three statements in our article were defamatory – that his lawyer did not deny he was responsible for her injuries, that the victim didn’t consent to having her face beaten and her skull fractured (we know), and that it was only the initial CT scan that showed a fracture. Bauer alleged that the statements were false because he did not actually fracture the victim’s skull and no CT scan ever showed a fracture.
But the Honorable Judge Paul A. Crotty of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York disagreed with Bauer’s claims, granting Deadspin’s motion to dismiss Bauer’s lawsuit with prejudice. A dismissal with prejudice means that the case alleging the same facts can not be filed again.
In a 16-page opinion, Crotty stated that Deadspin didn’t substantially misrepresent the woman’s claims against Bauer. Crotty further wrote:
“The Petition and accompanying medical records indicate that, following (the woman’s’) encounter with Bauer, a doctor — (not the woman) herself — diagnosed her with “significant head and facial trauma” and symptoms of a basilar skull fracture, including “racoon eyes” and a “Battle’s sign,” which are observable indicators of a potential fracture … Those symptoms were not merely ‘self-reported,’ but based on a physician’s initial examination and observation of (the woman). This means that the true bridge between the contested Statements — (Bauer) fractured (the woman’s) skull as diagnosed by an initial CT scan-and reality — (Bauer) caused (the woman) facial trauma that a doctor initially diagnosed as symptoms of a skull fracture — is small enough to render the ‘gist’ or ‘sting’ of the statements unchanged.”
Crotty continued, “Whether those injuries included a skull fracture or simply ‘significant head and facial trauma’ and bruising does not change the nature of the accusations, nor would it produce a different effect on the mind of the reader.”
Here’s where we point out that the headline in the piece that got Bauer so fired up said he should never pitch in MLB again. So far, he hasn’t.
We at Deadspin are heartened by the decision and remain committed to reporting on and exposing violence against women by athletes, no matter how famous.