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Patton v. Entercom Kansas City, LLC

United States District Court, D. Kansas

June 6, 2014

ASHLEY PATTON, Plaintiff,
v.
ENTERCOM KANSAS CITY, L.L.C., Defendant.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

DANIEL D. CRABTREE, District Judge.

This lawsuit arises from the broadcast of plaintiff Ashley Patton's name on a morning radio program on KRBZ 96.5-FM "The Buzz, " a radio station owned and operated by defendant Entercom Kansas City L.L.C., that occurred on April 20, 2012. In this diversity action, plaintiff asserts two claims under Kansas state law: (1) false light invasion of privacy and (2) negligent supervision. This matter comes before the Court on defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 65). For the reasons explained below, the Court grants the motion in part and denies it in part. The Court grants the motion with respect to plaintiff's negligent supervision claim. The Court denies the motion as to plaintiff's false light invasion of privacy claim.

I. Uncontroverted Facts

The following facts have either been stipulated by the parties in the parties' joint stipulations of fact (Doc. 57) or are stated in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, the nonmoving party. Defendant operates a radio station called KRBZ 96.5-FM "The Buzz." The Buzz airs a morning radio program known as "Afentra's Big Fat Morning Buzz." During the "Afentra's Big Fat Morning Buzz" broadcast on April 20, 2012, on-air talent Afentra Bandokoudis (known as "Afentra") and Daniel Terreros (known as "Danny Boi") prompted listeners to send text messages into the radio station's "text line" of the names of persons that were said to be local porn stars.[1]

On the morning of April 20, 2012, two individuals, using separate telephone numbers, texted the name "Ashley Patton" to the 96.5 "The Buzz" radio station text line. A text message sent from 913-620-6231 at 7:26:52 a.m. read "Ashley Patton Olathe south. 2007." This text message was sent by Christopher Bradley. A text message from 913-449-8510 at 7:28:33 a.m. read "Ashley pattons a whore!!!!" This text message was sent from a phone number used by Cameron Sharp, and the parties agree was not read aloud on the air. Christopher Bradley and Cameron Sharp have no connection to defendant other than the fact that they listen to the station and "follow" the station on social media.

Danny Boi performed a "Google" search to attempt to verify the information submitted by text message. That search returned pornographic images or videos of a person with a similarly-spelled name, "Ashley Payton." The plaintiff in this case, Ashley Patton, is not and never has been involved in the pornography industry.

Danny Boi stated Ashley Patton's name on-air once at approximately 7:27 a.m. Before saying her name, Danny Boi announced, "Oh, this girl is going to be good, hold on guys." He continued, "Ashley Patton, Olathe South. Let's Google this chick. This is what I have been waiting for. You know you can have your DeSoto Girls." The on-air talent further stated during the broadcast:

Danny Boi: Oh God, that poor girl, why would she go into that kind of pornography?
Afentra: Let me see. Is this the one from Olathe South?
Danny Boi: Wrath. (Laughs)
Afentra: (Laughs.)
Danny Boi: Don't choke her. Jesus!
Afentra: (Laughs)
Danny Boi: That's not very nice. You're a poor lover.

The on-air talent also stated that they would put a list of "alleged" porn stars on the radio station's website:

Afentra: Alright. We'll get a list up. Mark, get the porn list. It's unofficial, the unofficial porn list of Kansas City Metro.
Danny Boi: The alleged text line porn list for the Kansas City Metropolitan area.
Afentra: Yeah, cause we can't, can't confirm or deny right?
Danny Boi: Nope.
Afentra: We don't know for sure where these people are from but you guys ...

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