November 5, 2012 - With less than one week from the November 6 election, political advertisements have saturated the airwaves. The increasingly negative tone and substance of political ads make it hard to distinguish fact from fiction and leave voters wondering if there is any limit to the lies political campaigns can run against their opponents. One Iowa case provided recourse for a candidate whose good name was smeared during an election.
One legislator made a stand against defamatory political ads. The Goosmann Law Firm, PLC, located in Sioux City, Iowa, obtained a jury verdict for Rick Bertrand for libel and slander relating to a false political TV ad in the 2010 state senate race. The ad contained lies about Bertrand’s company. Even after Bertrand informed the Defendants the ad contained lies and needed to be pulled the Defendants refused, continued to run the ads and even ordered more defamatory ads. In appeals, the lawsuit has the potential to become precedent to become a buffer against future vitriolic defamatory attack ads. Rick Bertrand, a state Senator from Iowa, said “I am pleased that the jury agreed that the attack ads against me crossed the line, and I’m thrilled that this case has the potential to be precedent-setting.” Attorney Jeana Goosmann agreed, saying “We are excited to stand up against false personal attacks against a political candidate. Upholding the requirement that a political campaign runs only truthful ads will only enhance our civil responsibility to elect qualified candidates to office.”
The case has been appealed to the Iowa Supreme Court. No date for oral arguments has been set at this time.
Past case results do not indicate the outcome of your case and case results are not typical.