High court rejects Iowa senator's defamation case

AP News
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Posted: Oct 14, 2014 9:45 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has declined to revive a defamation lawsuit that an Iowa Republican state senator filed against his Democratic opponent over a misleading campaign ad.

The justices on Tuesday let stand the Iowa Supreme Court's decision dismissing state Sen. Rick Bertrand's lawsuit.

Bertrand said Democrat Rick Mullin and the Iowa Democratic Party had libeled and slandered him in a TV ad run before the November 2010 election that Bertrand won. The ad said Bertrand's employer sold "a dangerous sleep drug to children."

A jury in 2012 agreed with Bertrand that the ad falsely suggested he personally sold the drug and awarded him $231,000 in damages.

The Iowa court ruled that the ad's false implication may have been negligence, but wasn't a "reckless disregard for the truth."