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Published: Wednesday, 8/1/2001

$50,000 libel damages awarded to Lima-area pair

LIMA, Ohio - Allen County Common Pleas Judge Richard Warren yesterday awarded $50,000 in damages to an American Township couple who were libeled by another township resident in 1993.

Marna Baty was ordered to pay Greg and Sarah Sneary $25,000 for legal expenses, $5,000 in punitive damages, and $10,000 to each of the Snearys for intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

Judge Warren ruled that a three-page letter distributed by Mrs. Baty to some 4,200 township homes demonstrated actual malice. In the letter, Mrs. Baty encouraged residents to vote against the rezoning of property for the Snearys' car business. They had purchased the property after relying on a township map that incorrectly showed the land already was zoned for commercial use.

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