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Archive for Wednesday, January 3, 2001

Wal-Mart told to pay libel ruling

January 3, 2001

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— Wal-Mart has been ordered to pay $425,833 to a woman who sued the retailer for libel.

A Jackson County Circuit Court jury last month sided with Carolyn Kenney, who sued Wal-Mart for libel after the retailer posted a missing-child flier that pictured her and her 16-month-old granddaughter, who wasn't missing.

She contended the Wal-Mart in Lee's Summit didn't take the poster off its missing-children bulletin board for days after it was informed that the child was not missing. The girl's mother distributed the poster to various retail establishments. The woman was involved in a custody and visitation dispute with the girl's father and became angry when the father took the girl to the Lake of the Ozarks.

By policy, Wal-Mart posts only fliers that come from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. In this case, the store said, someone must have slipped the poster through a crack in the locked sliding-glass doors covering the bulletin board.

The jury awarded Kenney actual damages of $33,750 and punitive damages of $392,083.

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