The Iowa Supreme Court said Friday a state senator cannot sue for defamation over a rival's campaign ad that misleadingly suggested he marketed dangerous drugs to children.
The court voted 5-0 to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Republican Sen. Rick Bertrand against his 2010 Democratic opponent, Rick Mullin, and the Iowa Democratic Party.
Jurors awarded Bertrand $231,000 in damages in 2012 after finding the ad was false and defamatory. It accused Bertrand of putting "his profits ahead of children's health." Bertrand worked for a large pharmaceutical company that faced FDA criticism for marketing a sleep drug to children, but was in a different division and never sold that drug.
Chief Justice Mark Cady said the ad's false implication may have been negligence, but wasn't a "reckless disregard for the truth."
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