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Ind. high court won't hear newspaper's appeal of libel award

By The Associated Press
07.27.06

INDIANAPOLIS — A jury's $235,000 award to a mayor who had sued a newspaper after it published a political advertisement accusing him of wrongdoing will stand after the Indiana Supreme Court declined to review the case.

The state Court of Appeals last October upheld the award, ruling that George B. "Sonny" Carey acted with malice in publishing the April 2002 advertisement in The Daily Clintonian.

The Indiana Supreme Court on July 20 declined to hear the case, leaving the outcome unchanged.

The Associated Press left phone messages seeking comment with the newspaper office and at Carey's home number in Clinton, about 15 miles north of Terre Haute. Carey is publisher of the newspaper, which has a circulation of about 5,000.

The ad accused Clinton Mayor Ron Shepard of misusing city money in refinancing a fire truck and failing to negotiate new rates with Clinton Township Water Co.

Shepard claimed the advertisement was false and defamatory. The newspaper declined to publish a retraction, and Shepard sued Carey, The Daily Clintonian and an unregistered political action committee identified only as Concerned Citizens.

Carey, who also is president of Clinton Township Water Co., denied any involvement with the advertisement and refused to identify the person who had placed it.

A Vermillion Circuit Court jury in 2004 awarded Shepard $225,000 in compensatory damages and $10,000 in punitive damages from The Daily Clintonian.

In upholding the damages, the appeals court said Carey had stipulated before trial that The Daily Clintonian had published the advertisement accusing Shepard of abusing his office. But he later testified he did not think Shepard had committed a crime, the judges noted.


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Libel & defamation


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