Roy W. Kent


In Taskett v. KING Broadcasting Co., the Washington Supreme Court reevaluated the constitutional limits on libel law with regard to private individuals involved in matters of public interest, and held that private individuals can recover damages "on a showing that in publishing the statement, the defendant knew or, in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known that the statement was false." In adopting the reasonable care standard, the Washington Supreme Court sought to achieve an equitable balance between the media's first amendment rights of free speech and press and the state's interest in compensating private citizens for harm to their reputations. This comment analyzes the court's reasoning, determines whether the court has adequately protected the competing interests involved, and suggests a better approach to reconcile these interests.