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Case Style: Dennis L. Stewart v. The Oklahoma Publishing Company, Griffin Communications, Inc., and NewsOK.com
Case Number: CJ-02-00490
Judge: Donald D. Thomspon
Court: District Court, Creek Count, Oklahoma
Cliff A. Stark of Kelly Stark Mitchell & Martin, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Phil Rounds of Smiling Law Firm, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Jon A. Epstein of Hall, Estill, Hardwick, Gable, Golden & Nelson, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Robert W. Nelson of Whitten, Nelson, McGuire, Wood, Terry, Roselius & Dittrich, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Description: Defamation claim by the plaintiff, Dennis L. Stewart, who claimed that he was harmed as a result of the publication by the defendants, Oklahoma Publishing Company, Griffin Television, and NewsOK.com, of information received from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, that a sex offender lived at the address where the plaintiff lived. The Daily Oklahoman and Oklahoma City's KWTV-Channel 9 jointly operate www.NewsOK.com which received an E-mail from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections that contained sex offender data. NewsOK.com put the database on its server and made it accessible through a search page.
The defendants claimed an absolute privilege with regard to the publication because the information that they received was re-published without change.
The plaintiff, age 46, who moved to Collinsville, Oklahoma in May 2001, and worked at a local cement, is an ordained minister. In February 2002, a neighbor contacted others in the neighborhood telling them that Plaintiff was a registered sex offender. She had obtained the information from the NewsOK site and distributed the information to her neighbors in a flier.
Outcome: Plaintiff's verdict for $200,000 in compensatory damages and $3.5 million in punitive damages.
Plaintiff's Experts: Unavailable
Defendant's Experts: Unavailable