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Court Revives Defamation Lawsuit Involving Polygamous Group

Court Revives Defamation Lawsuit Involving Polygamous Group

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The Utah Supreme Court has ruled in favor of a couple who claimed they were defamed when identified in a lawsuit as members of a polygamous group.

In an unanimous decision today, the court said a district court erred in dismissing Nevin and Denise Pratt's complaint.

The couple were among hundreds of people and businesses named in Mary Ann Nichol's lawsuit. She claims members of the Kingston organization were complicit in forcing her polygamous marriage with an uncle at age 16 and a beating she suffered when she tried to leave him.

At a news conference references were made to defendants who Nichols says knew of the abuse, but didn't prevent or stop it.

A district court ruled that the Pratts' complaint was unfounded because matters that are part of a judicial proceeding were protected from defamation claims.

The Supreme Court Justices, however, say excessive publication of the lawsuit because of the news conference eliminated that immunity and the Pratts' defamation case should be returned to the district court for a hearing.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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