‘Plain Dealer’ Former Music Critic Loses Lawsuit Over Reassignment

By: E&P Staff

A Plain Dealer reporter who sued the newspaper, the Cleveland Orchestra and the Musical Arts Association among others for what he called a conspiracy to oust him from his music critic beat, has had his day in court — and lost.

Donald Rosenberg claimed he was removed from the beat and reassigned due to pressure the paper received after he had written one too many negative reviews about the orchestra. Filed in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, the suit alleged that the arts association and other defendants launched a campaign to smear Rosenberg’s reputation as a music critic following a 2004 article critical of orchestra’s conductor, Franz Welser-Most.

An eight-member panel dismissed Rosenberg’s accusations of age discrimination against the Plain Dealer — where he is still employed — and its editor, Susan Goldberg, and of tortious interference and defamation against the orchestra’s governing body, the Musical Arts Association; its executive director, Gary Hanson; its chairman, Richard J. Bogomolny; and its former president, James D. Ireland III, according to The New York Times.

In September 2008, Rosenberg was instructed to not to review the orchestra any longer and was reassigned as general-assignment reporter covering arts and entertainment, as well as dance performances.

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