The estate of NBC anchorwoman Jessica Savitch will get more than $8 million from four defendants in a settlement of a lawsuit stemming from her drowning more than four years ago, sources in the case said.
Savitch, 35, and a companion, New York Post executive Martin Fischbein, 34, drowned on Oct. 26, 1983, when the car in which they were riding plunged from a restaurant parking lot into a canal in New Hope during a rainstorm.
"The settlement established the principle of equality of salary and longevity for women in television news," said Arthur G. Raynes, a Philadelphia attorney who filed the lawsuit on behalf of Savitch's mother, two sisters, seven friends and co-workers.
Raynes declined to disclose terms of the settlement Wednesday, but KYW-TV in Philadelphia reported that the agreement totaled more than $8 million, equal to what Savitch's lifetime earnings would have been.
The Philadelphia Daily News reported that one lawyer said the New York Post, whose insurance covered the leased station wagon Fischbein was driving, paid $7 million of the settlement.
The lawsuit was filed in 1984 against a restaurant, Chez Odette; Fischbein's estate; the Department of Environmental Resources; John Nyari, whose family once owned the restaurant; News America Publishing Co., which publishes the New York Post and had leased the station wagon, and General Motors Corp., which built the vehicle.