Thursday, December 22, 2016

Alvarado Punches Back Twice as Hard

Good for Sen. Ralph Alvarado (R-Winchester). He just won a defamation and false light suit -- and $200,000 in damages -- from former Sen. R.J. Palmer

As Pure Politics reports, Alvarado (who is a doctor) sued his former election opponent for essentially portraying him as a drug dealer.

It took Alvarado two years to get the victory; it went all the way to a jury trial, where the jury awarded $125,000 in compensatory damages and $75,000 in punitive damages.

The point of punitive damages is to deter. Hopefully, the verdict in this case will indeed deter slimy politicians from lying about an opponent just to advance their chance of winning.

This suit has important ramifications not just for defamation law but also for candidate recruitment.  Honorable people who would make terrific public servants often refuse to run because they don't want to be subjected to lies of the sort Palmer spread about Alvarado.

It's good to see that there is recourse, even despite the difficulty of proving actual malice when the victim is a public figure (which candidates are).

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