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Harvey Purtz Files Claim Against Daily Cal Editor-In-Chief Rajesh Srinivasan

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The editor of UC-Berkeley's student paper, the Daily Californian, is being sued by the father of a late Berkeley football player, the paper reports.

Harvey Purtz, father of deceased student Chris Purtz, claims that Daily Cal Editor-in-Chief Rajesh Srinivasan's refusal to remove an article detailing the younger Purtz's alleged exploits at a San Francisco strip club -- as well as a few blog posts that referenced the event and Chris's departure from the football team -- was "intentional infliction of emotional distress" on his son's memory. Purtz is demanding $7,500 in damages.

The Daily Cal reports that Purtz had requested that Srinivasan take the article in question off of the website in July of last year -- following the death of his son the month before -- and was rebuffed. When Srinivasan held his ground in the face of repeated requests and refused to pay the money for which Purtz asked, he filed a small claims case with Fresno Superior Court.

Srinivasan told College Media Matters that he was acting in line with the student paper's policy. "We would only remove content from our website if it qualified for a retraction, which is reserved for extreme cases where a story is entirely untruthful and which requires approval from our senior editorial board," he said.

Daily Cal board of directors' Chairman Allen Matthews called the case "an egregious abuse of the legal system and of the vital purpose of our state's small case court process." Matthews added that the claim, which was filed against Srinivasan personally -- even though he was not yet a student at UC-Berkeley when the original article was written -- was "reprehensible."

But UC-Berkeley's Student Press Law Center attorney advocate Adam Goldstein told the Daily Cal that Srinivasan will likely not have to pay the damages: "[Purtz is] not saying exactly what caused stress, and in this situation it's hard to say that anything the paper did caused more emotional distress than the death of his son."

The hearing will take place on Jan. 19th.

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