JUNEAU (AP) -- A jury awarded a Juneau woman $150,000 to punish a California radio-show production company for destroying a tape she wanted as evidence in a lawsuit.
Karen Carpenter had charged that she suffered serious emotional illness because of demeaning and sexually oriented comments made about her by nationally syndicated talk-show host Tom Leykis on July 24, 1998.
The jury cleared Leykis and Westwood One of claims they intentionally inflicted emotional distress on Carpenter and violated her privacy by publicly disclosing private information about her.
But the jury found in favor of Carpenter in her claim against the company because of the missing tape.
Leslie Longenbaugh, attorney for the Los Angeles-area production company Westwood One, asked Superior Court Judge Patricia Collins on Thursday to overturn the jury's verdict that the company intentionally destroyed evidence. Collins said she would issue a written response.
Carpenter also is appealing the jury's rulings against her to the Alaska Supreme Court, said Ray Brown, one of her attorneys.
Brown told the jury Thursday that destroying evidence was perhaps the most serious of Carpenter's claims because it affects the core of the justice system. He asked jurors to consider awarding damages equal to at least a week of the company's revenues in 1998 -- the year the show went off the air in Juneau.
That would be about $6.9 million for the parent company, Westwood One Inc., or about $329,000 for its subsidiary Westwood One Radio, which produces the Tom Leykis Show.
''The company destroyed the tape because it didn't want negative publicity from a lawsuit and the risk of other stations canceling the show because of the bad publicity,'' he said.
Thom Ferro, an executive with Westwood One, apologized to Carpenter during the trial.
''It is sad that our company was not able to produce that tape,'' Ferro testified. ''It disheartens me. I'd like to apologize to Ms. Carpenter.''
The Leykis show is heard by about 2 million people and is broadcast on about 60 radio stations nationwide, Westwood One officials have said. It has the most listeners for talk shows in its time slot in Los Angeles, Detroit, Dallas and Seattle.
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