Pest control company lodges defamation claim against Sun-Times over article on rats

By Melody Dareing | Jul 8, 2014


A pest control company is suing a Chicago newspaper and reporter, claiming an article contained false statements attributed to its owner saying that he released rats in local parks and had a pet rat named Charlie.

Logan Square Pest Control Inc., and its owner Carl Easter, filed a lawsuit May 20 in Cook County Circuit Court against the Sun-Times Media Group Inc. and staff reporter Stefano Esposito, alleging defamation and false light.

According to the complaint, Esposito called Logan Square Pest Control on Jan. 31 to interview Easter for an article about the winter's impact on rats. The article was published Feb. 3 online and in print.

The plaintiffs claim Esposito's article included false statements and quotes allegedly made by Easter that said he prefers to trap and release rats in a local park instead of exterminating them and that he had a pet rat.

The statements and quotes contained in the article are false, the suit asserts, noting that as a result of the article, the pest control company has suffered a loss of business and reputation.

The plaintiffs' suit includes counts alleging defamation per se, defamation per quod and false light. It seeks $100,000 in compensatory damages, as well as an unspecified amount of punitive damages, on each of the three counts.

Logan Square Pest Control and Easter are represented by Karen Conti of Beermann Pritikin Mirabelli Swerdlove LLP in Chicago.

Cook County Circuit Court Case No. 2014L005369

This is a report on a civil lawsuit filed at the Cook County Courthouse. The details in this report come from an original complaint filed by a plaintiff. Please note that a complaint represents an accusation by a private individual, not the government. It is not an indication of guilt, and it represents only one side of the story.

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