Friday the Iowa Supreme Court ruled in favor of Rick Mullin in a 2010 lawsuit against Rick Bertrand.
DES MOINES, Iowa (KTIV) -
The Iowa Supreme Court made a significant ruling Friday in a lawsuit surrounding political advertising. The two involved parties were both Siouxland politicians.
Back in 2010, Republican Rick Bertrand filed a lawsuit Democrat Rick Mullin as the two were campaigning for the U.S. Senate.
The suit centered around an advertisement by Mullin's camp, that Bertand saw as defamatory.
Bertrand's camp claimed Mullin's ad implied that Bertrand owned a company that marketed sleep drugs to children.
Bertrand won the election, and won the case in the Woodbury County District Court in 2012, and was awarded 231-thousand dollars in damages.
Mullin appealed and the case went to the Iowa Supreme Court, where it was dismissed Friday by a vote of 5-0 after judges concluded that the ad failed to support sufficient evidence of actual malice.
"I'm very happy today," said Mullin. "It's been a good day for justice and for free speech in Iowa. The Iowa Supreme Court, after a long, long hard battle, has finally ruled that the things we said were correct."
The ruling stated while that the comments in the ads might have qualified as "negligence," Bertrand's camp failed to prove actual malice.
Jeana Goosmann, Bertrand's attorney for the defamation case, says that they had hoped that this case would send a message to politicians of the public's right to truthful information in political advertising.
"We're disappointed in the way the court came out with their ruling in that we think they did a disservice to our electorate process," said Bertand's attorney Jeana Goosmann. "There was actual malice and knowledge of falsity in these particular statements that were made."
Goosmann says they are considering appealing the case to the United States Supreme Court.
Mullin says that the lawsuit was originally done to gain political advantage - Bertrand ended winning the election by 222 votes.
He notes that if Bertrand's camp believes that they can gain further advantage by appealing, then he would not be surprised to see them do so.
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