Defame and Fortune?


According to local reports, an Orem, Utah, physician won a $3 million verdict against KTVX(TV) Salt Lake City for hidden-camera stories aired in 1995 and 1996 that portrayed the doctor as an irresponsible dispenser of diet pills.

Most of the damages, $2.2 million, were based on economic loss from what the jury determined was defamation and showing the doctor in a false light. The rest of the award was in punitive damages.

Station officials did not comment last week on the likelihood of an appeal but, historically, the media frequently fares better on appeal than at trial in defamation cases.