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Court Nixes Defamation Complaint by Lakers’ Stadium Against NBC

(CN) - The owner of the Staples Center stadium in Los Angeles can't sue an NBC affiliate for defamation, because it did not properly identify itself in a retraction demand, a California appeals court ruled. The stadium is home to the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team and the Los Angeles Kings hockey team.

Anschutz Entertainment Co. and its subsidiary, L.A. Arena Co. LLC, own the Staples Center, the The arena owners sued KNBC-TV over news reports that asserted that the Staples Center's fire-prevention system was not working properly and that the arena was unsafe.

The arena owners said KNBC damaged their business by falsely claiming the arena' smoke control system has never been tested and that the building is not safe to occupy."

The lower court denied the television station's motion to strike the plaintiff's complaints, but the 2nd District Court of Appeals reversed the decision. Justice Turner ruled that the arena owners, Amschutz, did not correctly identify themselves in their retraction demand.

"Merely identifying a wholly-owned subsidiary, who it is commonly known is owned by a potential plaintiff in a retraction demand, does not comply with the statutory language and purposes (of California law)," Turner wrote.

"Naming the potential plaintiff who is damaged furthers the judicially recognized legislative purpose of allowing the journalist to determine what needs correction," Turner added.

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