PINEVILLE – A Sophia woman is suing Thomas Broadcasting Co. after she claims it defamed her and caused her damages.
Ashley Hart was also named as a defendant in the suit.
On Sept. 10, Jackson Grubb, Betsy Baber’s grandson, passed away as a result of an apparent suicide after enduring abuse while attending school in the Raleigh County school system, according to a complaint filed Oct. 31 in Wyoming Circuit Court.
Baber claims soon after his death, she was interviewed by the local news network, where she tearfully explained what had happened to her grandson and on Sept. 15, Thomas Broadcasing aired an interview of the biological father, Billy Lukach, whose parental rights were terminated, and his wife, Christine Lukach, which expressed certain “so called ‘truths’” regarding Baber.
In the interview, Billy Lukach alleged that Grubb’s death had nothing to do with bullying and that Baber was on drugs, according to the suit.
Baber claims that Hart narrated the interview, bolstering the Lukaches assertions and that the defamatory statements harmed her reputation. She claims the defamatory statements were published on Facebook and aired across Southern West Virginia for several thousand people to see.
The statements made during the interview were false and the Raleigh County Sheriff’s office expressed that there was no suspected wrongful conduct by the plaintiff at least three days prior to the interview conducted by Hart and broadcast by Thomas, according to the suit.
Baber claims that given the extreme allegations contained in the interview and/or broadcast, a reasonably prudent person would not have published the allegations contained in the interview and/or broadcast under the same or similar circumstances.
As a direct and proximate cause of the defendants’ actions, Baber has suffered due to the defamatory statements published by the defendants during the interview, which was broadcasted negligently or with reckless disregard to thousands of people, resulting in injury and damages.
Baber is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. She is being represented by Kyle G. Lusk and Matthew A. Bradford of Lusk & Bradford.
Wyoming Circuit Court case number: 16-C-142