Former coach must prove malice in suit
Judge: Station went beyond a fair report
DIXON – A judge on Wednesday set a higher legal hurdle for a former basketball coach to prevail in a defamation lawsuit.
In a 27-page opinion, Judge David Jeffrey determined that the former coach, Steve Sandholm, was a public figure. Because of that, Sandholm must show the defendants acted with malice. In other words, the judge said, the former coach must prove the defendants knew their statements were false or they acted with reckless disregard for the truth.
In 2008, Sandholm sued several parents of former basketball players and a local radio station. The parents had made critical comments online and on the radio about his coaching style.
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