Man Says TV Station Ruined His Good Name

     (CN) – A Miami television station broadcast a report falsely identifying a local man as a sex offender, when in fact he isn’t, the man claims in a lawsuit.
     Wilfredo Batista says until Nov. 11, 2014, he enjoyed a good name and reputation, but on that Monday, WPLG Local Channel 10 showed an advertisement on its news program saying “that he was a sexual offender and lived at the residence and zip code where only sexual offenders lived.”
     In a complaint filed in the Miami-Dade County circuit court, Batista says that prior to broadcasting the defamatory and false statements against him, “Defendant did not investigate to determine the truth of the matters, and didn’t conduct an investigation before portraying plaintiff Wilfredo Batista’s picture in the television news advertisement,” the complaint says.
     Batista says that defendant’s employee, who is not a party in this action, failed to investigate whether he was a sex offender, and without proof published such personal and embarrassing allegations against him.
     According to the complaint a station photographer violated plaintiff’s privacy and took a picture of him without his consent. It alleges that the photographer used plaintiff’s image to falsely accuse him, and broadcasted it on an advertisement for a news story.
     Batista called defendant’s actions “ambush journalism.”
     The complaint states that the station said that all sex offenders reside in a certain zip code, and exploited Batista’s picture to support its allegations.
     Batista claims the station fabricated the story and falsely depicted him to the public cheapening his name, and offending him in front of the general audience.
     According to his attorney, Theodore Enfield, Channel 10 televised Batista’s picture, and labeled him as a sex offender without a reason.
     Miami- Dade County Police Department’s public records do not show or list plaintiff as a sex offender.
     The complaint says that as a result of the station’s accusations Batista has been subjected to contempt and ridicule, and he has been publicly questioned causing him mental pain, medical care and bills for medical treatment.
     He seeks compensatory damages on claims of libel, invasion of privacy and for attorney’s fees.
     An attorney for the station said it is WPLG’s practice not to comment on pending litigation.

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