Dateline: December 19, 1996 - 7PM -

Judge Dismisses Suit Against Stern and Hayden!

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 many appearances.

Debbie Tay

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 emotional distress.

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".

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