A 3rd District judge has dismissed a libel suit filed against KTVX, two of its anchors and a reporter for a story that allegedly defamed the director of a program for troubled youths.
Judge James Sawaya, in a ruling released Friday, also ordered Layne R. Meacham and his company, Proctor Advocate Inc., to pay attorneys fees for the television station, anchors Karen Carns and Phil Riesen, and reporter Shelia Hamilton.Thomas Karrenberg, attorney for KTVX owner United Television Inc., said Sawaya ruled on a motion the lawyer filed contending the suit had no basis in fact.
The judge agreed and threw out the suit that sought $47,400 - the amount Meacham claimed he lost from six customers who saw the reports Nov. 23 and 24 by Hamilton.
"The judge awarded sanctions against them for filing the complaint and ordered the plaintiffs to pay the station and the reporters' lawyers fees," Karrenberg said.
"I think not so much that I feel good that the judge made the correct ruling," he said. "It's nice to see the system work properly."
Robert B. Hansen, Meacham's attorney, refused comment until he received a copy of the document. Mecham could not be reached for comment Friday.
In the stories, former Proctor Advocate clients and their parents alleged physical and emotional abuse while in the program. Positive comments by current clients also were included.
A group of Proctor Advocate employees were planning a demonstration Saturday morning at the program's offices.