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Gales v. CBS Broadcasting, Inc.
United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi
269 F. Supp. 2d 772 (2003)
CBS Broadcasting, Inc. (CBS) (defendant) aired a 60 Minutes segment that reported on exceptionally high damages awarded by juries in rural parts of Mississippi, particularly Jefferson County. Nothing in the segment named or otherwise identified any particular jury or juror, and the program referred only to Jefferson County jurors as a whole. Wylanda Gales and other members of the jury for the Jefferson County Circuit Court “Fen Phen” diet-drug trial (collectively, the Fen Phen jurors) (plaintiffs) sued CBS for defamation, libel, and slander. The Fen Phen jury had returned a verdict of $150 million in damages at trial. The Fen Phen jurors argued that the 60 Minutes segment maliciously represented that high-value verdicts were freely awarded in Jefferson County without a legal basis and that Jefferson County was a state hotspot for so-called jackpot justice.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Bramlette, J.)
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