Judge dismisses lawsuits against news organizations

ST PAUL – A judge dismissed defamation lawsuits Friday against four news organizations that reported that the owners of an Anoka gas station were being investigated for selling gasoline below the state’s legal minimum price.

U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson ruled that there was no evidence the media outlets acted improperly.

In the lawsuits, filed in April, the Dr. R.C. Samantha Roy Institute and its subsidiary, Midwest Oil of Minnesota, contended that the reporting on the gas station was motivated by the racial and ethnic background of Roy, president of the institute.

Roy is a former Hindu from India who changed his name from Brother Rama Behera several years ago and has preached a mixture of Christianity and Judaism that rejects mainstream religion, news reports have said.

In dismissing the lawsuits against the Star Tribune of Minneapolis, the St. Paul Pioneer Press, KSTP-TV and the Duluth News Tribune, Magnuson concluded that “plaintiffs’ allegations of defamation fail as a matter of law.”

Magnuson wrote that the plaintiffs failed to indicate how or why any of the statements made about Roy or his group were false. The judge dismissed the cases with prejudice, meaning they can’t be refiled.

Friday’s ruling did not apply to a similar lawsuit filed by the plaintiffs against the parent companies of WCCO-TV last month.

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AP, via GrandForksHerald.com, USA
July 15, 2005

Religion News Blog posted this on Friday July 15, 2005.
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