Five passengers were injured when two cars collided during the operation of the "Starchaser," an indoor steel roller coaster at the Kentucky Kingdom amusement park. The collision and resulting investigation attracted immediate and continuing news coverage from WHAS-TV (a television station) and other media outlets. Kentucky Kingdom Amusement Co. (KKAC), which owns and operates Kentucky Kingdom, filed a defamation lawsuit against WHAS on the basis of certain statements made during the WHAS reports. At the trial, KKAC introduced evidence indicating that the statements were false and harmful to the reputation of Kentucky Kingdom. The jury returned a verdict calling for a substantial amount of damages to be awarded to KKAC. Among the issues on appeal was whether KKAC had adequately proved the fault requirement necessitated by the First Amendment.
Assuming that KKAC is a public figure, what First Amendment-based fault requirement did KKAC have to prove in order to win the case? What does that fault requirement contemplate, and how does it differ from the fault requirement that would have been applicable if KKAC had been a private figure?

  • CreatedJuly 16, 2014
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