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High court rejects defamation appeal in Bueno case

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High court rejects defamation appeal in Bueno case

  • The Colorado Supreme Court won’t review a lower court ruling, sending the case to trial.

April 30, 2003 — The Colorado Supreme Court declined April 21 to review an appeals court ruling in favor of Manuel “Eddie” Bueno against the Denver Rocky Mountain News.

The Colorado Appeals Court ruled in December that Bueno’s defamation claim, over an article that identified him as a member of a crime family, should be tried by a jury.

The Supreme Court issued no opinion with its announcement that it would not accept the newspaper’s request to review the ruling.

In September 2002, the Colorado Supreme Court considered a separate, privacy-related claim in the same case. In a landmark ruling, the court held that media publications cannot be sued in Colorado for portraying people in a false light.

The suit arose over a story published by the newspaper in 1994. The story recounted the criminal activities of the family of Pete and Della Bueno, a couple who had 18 children, 15 of whom had criminal arrest records.

Eddie Bueno, one of the children, sued the newspaper and its reporter, saying the article unfairly lumped him with his troublemaking siblings. Bueno lived a life free of crime, having left the Bueno family home when he was 13.

(The Denver Publishing Co. v. Bueno; Media counsel: Marc D. Flink, Bruce W. Sanford and Bruce D. Brown, Baker & Hostetler, LLP, Washington, D.C. and Denver, Co.) WT

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© 2003 The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

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