Banned Bob Uecker Fan Loses Defamation Claim

     (CN) – Milwaukee Brewers announcer Bob Uecker did not defame a woman who claims that he and the team unfairly labeled her as a stalker, the Wisconsin Court of Appeals ruled.

     Ann E. Ladd, who describes herself as a devoted fan, sued Uecker and the team for invasion of privacy and defamation. She was charged with stalking in 2006 after Uecker alleged that she had harassed him for more than six years.
     The prosecutor dropped the stalking charge after the court granted Uecker’s injunction.
Ladd said Uecker defamed her in the affidavit supporting his injunction petition, which was published on The Smoking Gun.
     In it, Uecker stated that Ladd repeatedly sent him fan mail and roses, and that her attempts to contact him increased “in both frequency and intensity.”
     Ladd also claimed that the Brewers defamed her in an article on the team Web site describing her ejection from the stadium at a spring training game, and that the team invaded her privacy by photographing her in various baseball stadiums.
     The appeals court upheld the trial court’s ruling for Uecker and the Brewers.
     “First, we are unpersuaded that Uecker’s factual statements amount to defamation in the first instance, despite negative fallout to Ladd. Second, even if untrue, statements made in judicial proceedings are absolutely privileged,” Judge Harry Snyder wrote.
     The judge also ruled that her claims over Uecker’s statements and their publication are beyond the statute of limitations.
     Uecker was a lifetime .200 hitter as a backup catcher. He has announced for the Brewers since 1971. He also acted in all three “Major League” movies, and on the 1980s TV sitcom “Mr. Belvidere.”

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