Nevada Supreme Court Dismisses Tarkanian’s Libel Lawsuit

Claimed Rosen Defamed Him In Ads During 2016 Congressional Race

Associated Press
December 16, 2019 - 6:03 am
Republican candidate for Nevada's 3rd House District Danny Tarkanian speaks with the media after conceding his race against Democrat Susie Lee

David Becker/Getty Images

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CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada Supreme Court justices have ordered a lower court to dismiss a lawsuit filed by an attorney against a senator saying he was defamed during a 2016 congressional race.

Danny Tarkanian filed an $8 million lawsuit a week after he lost to U.S. Sen. Jacky Rosen for the state’s 3rd Congressional District.

The lawsuit stemmed from television and social media campaign advertisements that Tarkanian said depict him as the registered agent for companies that acted as fronts for fraudulent charities, officials said. Registered agents are responsible for legal paperwork for companies and do not deal with daily operations, officials said.

One ad said that “seniors lost millions from scams Danny Tarkanian helped set up,” the newspaper reported.

The advertisements were similar to allegations made by a opponent of his in the 2004 state Senate race, Tarkanian said.

Tarkanian successfully sued and received $150,000 in 2009 in that case.

A lower court denied Rosen’s request to dismiss the case, but it did not say if the advertisements constituted defamation, officials said. Rosen appealed the ruling.

The state Supreme Court ruled that the lower court erred in the denial because “Rosen showed a preponderance of the evidence that she made the statements in good faith.”

Tarkanian said in a statement that he “shocked and obviously very disappointed” by the decision. He added that he believes it will have a chilling effect on candidates who think they have been slandered.