Florida's District Court of Appeals has thrown out a $425,000 jury award
against Fox-owned WTVT(TV) Tampa by a former reporter who said the station tried
to distort her investigative report.
Jane Akre and husband Steve Wilson claimed that the station fired them after they
refused to allow their investigative piece on cattle hormone BGH to be distorted
under pressure from hormone manufacturer Monsanto Co.
The award was for Akre; the jury did not issue a judgment for Wilson.
The appeals court said Akre failed to state a claim under federal
The court found that what the Federal Communications Commission has referred to as its "news-distortion"
policy opposing the intentional falsification of news has not been published or
put into a law, rule or regulation necessary for federal protection.
The station said it was completely vindicated by the trial court's reversal,
which Akre characterized as a legal technicality.