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Ex-KNBC reporter’s age discrimination suit gets delay, new judge

Former KNBC-TV reporter Frank Snepp appears in an undated handout photo. (Photo: The Desk/Supplied)
Former KNBC-TV reporter Frank Snepp appears in an undated handout photo. (Photo: The Desk/Supplied)

A former KNBC-TV (Channel 4) reporter will have to wait a bit longer to have his day in court after a judge recused himself from the reporter’s age discrimination trial on Monday.

After a failed settlement conference mandated by the court, the age discrimination trial of Frank Snepp brought against KNBC was scheduled to begin in front of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu on Monday.

Instead, Treu unexpectedly recused himself from the case on Monday, delaying the start of the trial at least another two weeks.

Snepp, a former CIA analyst turned investigative journalist, was employed by KNBC from 2005 to 2012. He alleges he was fired in October 2012 because he was too old and too costly for the station to keep, drawing upon remarks purportedly made by station staffers that Snepp was generally regarded as a “grumpy old man who oughta just quit.”

Lawyers for the station dispute Snepp’s account, saying the former reporter was terminated due to his poor performance. Snepp was dismissed from the station mere weeks after KNBC settled a lawsuit with the owner of the Staples Center over a report accusing the sports complex of numerous safety violations.

KNBC attempted to get the lawsuit tossed out in August, but a judge sided against the station, saying Snepp had brought a “triable issue” before the court.

The trial was expected to begin on Monday having once already been delayed. It is now anticipated the trial will begin sometime toward the end of the month; the new judge, Stephen Moloney, will hear pre-trial motions and set the actual start of trial at a hearing on November 23.

Snepp was not available for comment when The Desk reached out to a press spokesperson over the weekend. A spokesperson for KNBC, which is owned by Comcast Corporation, has not returned a message for comment.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).