Talk show lawsuit jury ponders damages

Posted: Thursday, February 07, 2002

JUNEAU - The jury in the civil lawsuit of Karen Carpenter against radio talk-show host Tom Leykis and production company Westwood One began deliberating on punitive damages at about 11:30 a.m. today.

The jury on Tuesday found Westwood One at fault for destroying or concealing a tape of the disputed July 24, 1998, broadcast that Carpenter had requested as evidence.

Carpenter's attorney Ray Brown did not request a specific amount in punitive damages, but asked jurors to consider an amount at least equivalent to a week of the company's revenue. For the parent company, Westwood One Inc., that would come to about $6.9 million in 1998. And for the company's subsidiary, Westwood One Radio, that would be about $328,000.

By state law, half of any punitive damages awarded will go to the state.

The jury cleared Leykis and the company of claims that they had intentionally inflicted emotional distress on Carpenter and violated her privacy.

Regarding the claim of destroying evidence, the jury awarded Carpenter $5,042 to cover lost business and medical expenses, about a third of what she had claimed. And the jury did not award Carpenter any money for claimed non-economic losses, such as for pain and suffering. She had asked for about $100,000.

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