1st Amendment Defense Prevails In Ref's Death Threats Suit

Law360 (March 20, 2019, 7:03 PM EDT) -- An NCAA men's basketball referee who received death threats and whose business got hundreds of damaging online reviews after a radio program highlighted his controversial calls can't sue the program's hosts for the "sinister and unfortunate" episode, a Kentucky federal judge said Wednesday, finding the commentary was protected by the First Amendment.

In a 46-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Joseph M. Hood said that while he may not condone the behavior of Kentucky Sports Radio LLC hosts Matthew H. Jones and Drew Franklin, their remarks on referee John Higgins' officiating were indisputably made in a public forum and on "matters of...

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