Viewers got the best of both worlds when home renovation experts Alison Victoria and Donovan Eckhardt teamed up for the series premiere of the HGTV series Windy City Rehab. While Alison was on designer duty, Donovan handled the logistics.
The two were a match made in heaven — that was until all hell broke loose. In 2019, the hosts found themselves in the midst of a scandal.
The Windy City Rehab co-hosts were hit with nearly a dozen stop-work orders at the behest of the city of Chicago. But the drama didn’t end there. Article continues below advertisement
Months after Donovan was fired from the show, the ex-co-hosts were sued for negligence. Before long, Donovan had cooked up a defamation lawsuit of his own against the company.
After years of legal drama, Alison returned to the small screen to host Season 3 alone. But the ongoing controversy leads viewers to wonder — Is Windy City Rehab canceled or renewed for Season 4? Read on for a 2022 update.
Unfortunately for Eckhardt, Cook County Judge Patricia O’Brien Sheahan dismissed his lawsuit recently, noting that his contract stated that any legal disputes must be settled in a California court, according to the Chicago Sun Times.
It was back in January 2021 that Donovan Eckhardt, who was fired from Windy City Rehab in the spring of 2019, filed a lawsuit against Big Table Media (the shows production company) and Discovery (HGTVs parent company) for $2.2 million. This was because of alleged emotional distress he says he suffered after the show made it look, in Season 2, like “Donovan misappropriated, embezzled or wrongfully derived money from past projects,” and showed Alison Victoria as the “unknowing, innocent victim.”
Obviously, both stars of Windy City Rehab have seen several setbacks when it comes to the show and all of the legal drama surrounding it for the past two years. But, having his defamation lawsuit dismissed in Illinois has likely been a big blow for Donovan Eckhardt, who was both looking to recover some of his financial losses brought on by the show and all of the lawsuits, and regain at least some of his good name. In his original filing, Eckhardt reported that hed suffered social media attacks from fans because of his portrayal on the series, and that helped lead to anxiety and depression.
A lawyer for Donovan Eckhardt, Daniel Hogan, tried to argue that moving the venue from Illinois to California would be too much of a burden for witnesses in the defamation case. Even though that would seem to be a worthwhile justification, especially with the current, tricky state of our ongoing health crisis, Judge O’Brien Sheahan noted that video-recorded testimony and other remote forms of participation were possible, so she rejected the argument and dismissed Eckhardts lawsuit.
Eckhardts attorney has already filed an appeal in the hopes of having the decision overturned, but we dont know right now if the plan is to re-file the lawsuit in California should the appeal prove unsuccessful.
In his tentative ruling, Sueyoshi emphasized the show’s producers stated in an email that there needs to be a “factual representation of what happened, and not edited in a way that casts someone in a poor light.”
Failure to investigate isn’t enough, he continued, when Eckhardt never spoke up about what he considered lies from Gramenos before the second season of the show aired.
Sacramento judge Richard Sueyoshi on Tuesday ruled that the depiction by Scripps and producers Big Table Media of Thomas Eckhardt is covered by the First Amendment’s free speech protections, concluding, “Defendant has shown that the entire complaint arises from an act in furtherance of its right of petition or free speech and Plaintiff failed to establish that there is a probability that he will prevail on the claim.”
Eckhardt, founder of real estate development firm Greymark Development Group and a contractor who appeared in the show, in September sued Scripps over his depiction in the second season of the series.
Sueyoshi found in a tentative ruling that the complaint met two of the three standards required to allege defamation and libel but failed to prove that Scripps acted with malice, a necessary showing. The order is grounded in a California statute allowing for early dismissal of cases that seek to chill free speech.
Hosted by designer Alison Victoria and contractor Donovan Eckhardt, the show is now in its second season. After taking a longer hiatus between seasons one and two to address multiple lawsuits, the second season has brought its fair share of drama. Eckhardt and Victoria’s relationship seemingly breaks down in the new season under the strain of the lawsuits.
What was the outcome of Windy City Rehab lawsuit?
What happened with Windy City Rehab partnership?
How much is the Windy City Rehab girl worth?
Why did Windy City Rehab Get Stop-Work Orders?