The plaintiff, a doctor and research scientist, was interviewed. He brought an action for damages for defamation, alleging that the program, and the manner in which his interview was edited, created the innuendoes that he supported the prescribing of killer drugs; that he was in a conflict of interest; that he was receiving a pay-off or kickback from a leading pharmaceutical company; and that he acted negligently or dishonestly as the chairman of the ad hoc advisory committee of HPB.
The trial judge found that the words complained of did actually bear those meanings and that the broadcast was devastatingly defamatory of the plaintiff.
The trial judge concluded that this was as serious a libel as could be imagined. The defendants never apologized. Rather, to the very end, and throughout the trial, there was an uncompromising defence of their activities. The trial judge awarded $400,000 for general damages, aggravated damages totalling $350,000, and punitive damages totalling $200,000, for a total of $950,000.