Pest control company owner files lawsuit against Sun-Times, reporter
BY MEGAN GRAHAM Staff Reporter May 20, 2014 8:54PM
Updated: June 24, 2014 6:44AM
A Logan Square pest control company has sued the Sun-Times Media Group and a Chicago Sun-Times reporter, alleging that the company had been defamed in a story published in February.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court, names reporter Stefano Esposito and the Sun-Times Media Group and alleges that the story wrongly quoted Carl Easter, owner of Logan Square Pest Control, and included incorrect statements about his business.
Easter was interviewed in late January by Esposito for a story about the effect of the winter on rats, according to the suit. In the story, Esposito quotes Easter as saying he has a pet rat named Charlie, and that he traps and releases rats in local parks instead of exterminating them.
Easter’s lawsuit says he “has never in all the years of his business ever dropped off a rat anywhere, including a local park” and does not have a pet rat. It says the Sun-Times “maliciously” published false statements and harmed his reputation.
As a result of the article, Easter says the general public believed he did not follow proper protocol and regulations pertaining to rat extermination, violated customer contracts and released “undesirable creatures into public parks,” which would mean he violated the Illinois Department of Public Health Act as well as generally accepted industry standards.
Easter says as a result of the article he has lost longtime customers such as American Airlines and America’s Dog, “totaling tens of thousands of dollars in lost business revenue and future business revenue.”
The three-count suit claims defamation and false light and seeks $300,000 in damages.
Jim Kirk, publisher and editor in chief of the Chicago Sun-Times, declined to comment on the lawsuit. Carl Easter declined to comment.
Easter’s attorney, Karen Conti, did not respond to a request for comment.