Thursday, January 17, 2013

Seattle TV Station Defeats Defamation Claim

English: KIRO 7 logo
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In an 18-page ruling in U.S. Mission Corp. v. KIRO-TV, Inc. (Case No. 66868-4-1), Washington Court of Appeals Judge C. Kenneth Grosse this week upheld a trial court's dismissal of a defamation claim against a Seattle television station filed by a transitional housing service, the Reporter's Committee for Freedom of the Press Web site ( reported.

The local tv news station reported in 2010 that U.S. Mission Corporation allegedly solicited door-to-door contributions using transitional shelter residents, some of whom allegedly had criminal records. Judge Grosse sided with KIRO-TV, finding that investigative reporter Chris Halsne's story was substantially true, even though some of his statements, such as contending the plaintiff "'recruited' felons and sent 'bevies' of felons into neighborhoods," were not literally true.

The court ruled that the plaintiff failed to prove it was harmed by the station's story. In affirming the trial court's grant of summary judgment to the defendant, Judge Grosse did not rule on the parties' arguments regarding the constitutionality of Washington's anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) statute [RCW 4.24.525].

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