Dateline: December 19, 1996 - 7PM -
Judge Dismisses Suit Against Stern
In late December, a Brooklyn Supreme Court judge dismissed a lawsuit
against Howard and Steppin' Out Magazine's, Chaunce Hayden, that charged
both with intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress and
mishandling of a corpse.
The $8 million lawsuit, which was brought on by Debbie's brother and
sister, stems from a July 18, 1995 visit by Chaunce and the remains of
Wack Packer and now-deceased Space Lesbian, Debbie Tay, who had died of
a heroin overdose.
If you will recall, after hearing about Debbie, Howard had Chaunce
on the phone to talk about her turbulant life and death. During the conversation,
Chaunce told Howard that Debbie had been cremated and that he had some
of her ashes and bones, which were given to him by Debbie's family. Howard
asked Chaunce to come to the studio and bring the box with him. The next
day, Chaunce showed up, bones and all, and Howard and the gang paid tribute
to Debbie in true Stern show style with Debbie stories and clips of her
The judge ruled in this case that while he felt Howard's tribute to
Debbie was "vulgar and disrespectful",
it was not "so outrageous in character, and
so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all bounds of decency, and to be
deemed atrocious and utterly intolerable in a civilized society,"
as the law requires for a person to be liable of intentional or negligent
As for the charge of mishandling a corpse, the judge said that since
Debbie's sister had given Chaunce the remains as a gift, he was free to
do with them as he wished, even if it meant bringing them to Howard's show.
When I reached Chaunce by phone today he told me...
"I'm relieved that this very sad and pointless
$8 million lawsuit has been thrown out by the courts. Debbie
Tay was my friend and forever will be my soul
mate. My decision to bring her remains on the Howard Stern show was in
keeping with Debbie's unique and entertaining personality. Anyone who was
offended by the Debbie Tay tribute show obviously didn't know Debbie. I
would also like to thank Howard Stern and his attorneys for all their kindness
and support they gave me during the last several months".
©1996 The K.O.A.M. Newsletter. All Rights Reserved.