LAWSUITS: Libel on The Line

Libel on The Line

The Home Shopping Network in Clearwater, Fla., has bought into a spree of bad luck. The company, which markets consumer goods on its phone-in TV shows, has made a series of ill-advised acquisitions; its stock price has slipped from a 1987 high of $47 a share to less than $4; and it faces a class-action stockholder lawsuit. Last week came more bad news. A jury in Pinellas County ordered HSN to pay GTE $100 million in libel damages. That is the largest libel award in history.

HSN sued GTE in September 1987, charging that a fouled-up GTE phone system had cost...

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