clear
Friday December 15th, 2017 12:35PM

Basketball ref sues Kentucky media company over harassment

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A college basketball referee filed a federal lawsuit against a Kentucky media company on Tuesday, accusing it of creating conditions that led to the harassment of him and his family after he worked an NCAA Tournament game between Kentucky and North Carolina in March.

In his suit, John Higgins blamed Kentucky Sports Radio for helping incite death threats that frightened him and his family and defamatory messages on social media and in phone messages that disrupted his roofing business in suburban Omaha. The harassment came after Higgins worked Kentucky's loss to the eventual champion Tar Heels in a regional final.

Kentucky coach John Calipari was critical of the officiating in his postgame comments, a theme that was picked up on by commentators for Kentucky Sports Radio after the game.

The suit alleges intentional infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy, tortious interference with a business and civil conspiracy. Higgins, who is seeking at least $75,000, declined comment.

Higgins, his wife Carol and his business, Weatherguard Inc., are listed as plaintiffs. Kentucky Sports Radio and two of its operators, Matthew Jones and Drew Franklin, are listed as defendants.

In a tweet and posting on the KSR website, Jones said, "The Higgins lawsuit against KSR is frivolous and without any legal merit whatsoever. We will defend it and expect a favorable result quickly."

A video showing contact information for Higgins and posted on the KSR website was partly responsible for sparking the harassment, the suit said.

"After defendants' publication of Mr. Higgins' business and contact information, as well as their encouragement and enticement to thousands of people to utilize the contact information, Weatherguard received over 3,000 phone calls during the two days after the game, of which approximately 75 percent were from Kentucky area codes," the suit said.

Higgins' business also received a flood of bogus negative online reviews, causing his Google rating to plummet. Higgins' website got more than 28,000 hits in the days after the game, and he was forced to take the company's Facebook page down.

A sheriff's investigator in Sarpy County, where Higgins' business is located, said in April that he had identified 450 phone calls or messages and another 200-300 messages on social media or in emails that were "of a threatening nature." The sheriff's department provided extra patrols around Higgins' office, and Omaha police did the same near Higgins' residence.

The lawsuit said Higgins and his family had a bodyguard with them when Higgins was in Phoenix for the Final Four.

___

More AP college basketball: www.collegebasketball.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_Top25

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Basketball, College Sports, AP Entertainment, AP Business, AP Business - Corporate News, AP Sports - Men's College Basketball
© Copyright 2017 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
The Latest: Off-duty firefighters at concert set up triage
Off-duty Las Vegas area firefighters who were attending the country music festival when a gunman opened fire on the crowd say they immediately started setting up makeshift triage operations with concertgoers bringing them gunshot victims
6:46PM ( 19 minutes ago )
Airlines offer free travel for Las Vegas victims' families
Southwest, Allegiant say they will give free flights to family members of people who killed or wounded in LV shooting
6:44PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Louisville names Vince Tyra as acting athletic director
Louisville names foundation board member Vince Tyra as acting replacement for AD Tom Jurich
6:43PM ( 22 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Basketball ref sues Kentucky media company over harassment
College basketball referee John Higgins files civil lawsuit against Kentucky media company for allegedly inciting harassment
6:30PM ( 36 minutes ago )
Las Vegas victims: Man died protecting wife on anniversary
Through tearful stories of final moments together and in heart-wrenching tributes, relatives and friends are remembering dozens of people killed in the Las Vegas massacre
5:51PM ( 1 hour ago )
On deck: Bauer _ not Kluber _ starting for Indians in Game 1
Indians manager Terry Francona has decided to start right-hander Trevor Bauer _ not ace Corey Kluber _ in Game 1 of the AL playoffs
5:40PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
Laurene Powell Jobs to buy stake in Wizards, Capitals
Laurene Powell Jobs has agreed to buy a 20 percent stake in Ted Leonsis' Monumental Sports & Entertainment, which owns the NBA's Washington Wizards and NHL's Washington Capitals
11:29AM ( 7 hours ago )
Plague in Madagascar hits urban areas, kills 2 dozen people
Authorities in Madagascar are struggling to contain an outbreak of plague that has killed two-dozen people since last month
8:17AM ( 10 hours ago )
Witness and survivor accounts from the Las Vegas shooting
Witness and survivor accounts from Las Vegas shooting massacre
8:32PM ( 22 hours ago )
AP Online Basketball
No. 21 Notre Dame reveals foot injury to QB Wimbush
Dual-threat junior QB Wimbush could be unavailable for Saturday game at North Carolina; Book being prepared
3:35PM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: Guest next to Vegas gunman's room 'shaken'
An Australian man with the room next to the gunman's says he's "shaken" by Sunday's attack
3:02AM ( 16 hours ago )
The Latest: Officials update number of firearms found
Investigators have updated the number of firearms they found in the hotel room and home of the Las Vegas shooter
2:18AM ( 16 hours ago )
College Sports
Einstein proof: Nobel winners find ripples in the universe
The Nobel Physics Prize 2017 went to three scientists for their discoveries in gravitational waves
6:14PM ( 52 minutes ago )
The Latest: Union: 12 off-duty firefighters shot in Vegas
Union officials say 12 off-duty firefighters were shot while attending a country music festival in Las Vegas, including two who were wounded while administering CPR to gunshot victims
6:05PM ( 1 hour ago )
Investigators want to talk to Vegas gunman's girlfriend
Investigators trying figure out why Stephen Paddock gunned down 59 people from his high-rise hotel room are analyzing his computer and cellphone, looking at casino surveillance footage and seeking to interview his longtime girlfriend
5:22PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Entertainment
AP sources: White House to seek $29B disaster aid package
Top Washington officials say the Trump administration is readying a $29 billion request that combines $16 billion to shore up the government-backed flood insurance program with almost $13 billion in additional relief for hurricane victims
6:23PM ( 43 minutes ago )
Lawmakers grill former Equifax chairman over data breach
House Republicans and Democrats have grilled Equifax's former chief executive over the massive data hack of the personal information of 145 million Americans, calling the company's response inadequate as consumers struggle to deal with the breach
6:14PM ( 52 minutes ago )
Residents say tests find toxic chemicals after plant fire
Houston-area residents say in a newly filed class-action lawsuit that tests have detected toxic substances in soil, water and ash samples taken miles from a chemical plant that flooded during Hurricane Harvey several weeks ago, caught fire and exploded
6:05PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
US automakers post first monthly sales gain of year in Sept.
The auto industry posted its first monthly sales gain of the year September, led by strong truck and SUV sales and the replacement of cars destroyed by Hurricane Harvey in Texas
4:24PM ( 2 hours ago )
Pentagon says Trump's Afghan troop boost to cost $1 billion
The U.S. military's top leaders say the thousands of additional U.S. troops President Donald Trump has ordered to Afghanistan will cost just over $1 billion a year, bringing the total bill for fighting America's longest war to $12.5 billion annually
4:05PM ( 3 hours ago )
Automakers bounce back with strong sales in September
General Motors, Ford, Nissan, Honda, Volkswagen and Toyota all posted strong U.S. sales, confirming expectations that the industry would rebound in September
3:07PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Business - Corporate News
Joe Tiller, Purdue's winningest football coach, dies at 74
Joe Tiller, Purdue's winningest football coach, dies at 74; coached Drew Brees, led school to 10 bowls
5:27PM ( 3 days ago )
Louisville tabs Padgett as interim replacement for Pitino
Louisville names assistant David Padgett as Rick Pitino's interim replacement as Cardinals' coach
11:43PM ( 3 days ago )
The Latest: Pitino says he didn't know of money to recruits
Ousted Louisville coach Rick Pitino tells a radio host in a text message that he is sad and misses his players as they begin practice for a season already marred by a federal corruption probe
6:33PM ( 4 days ago )
AP Sports - Men's College Basketball
Once an obscure device, 'bump stocks' are in the spotlight
Once an obscure device, 'bump stocks' are in spotlight after Las Vegas massacre
6:51PM ( 16 minutes ago )
The Latest: Off-duty firefighters at concert set up triage
Off-duty Las Vegas area firefighters who were attending the country music festival when a gunman opened fire on the crowd say they immediately started setting up makeshift triage operations with concertgoers bringing them gunshot victims
6:46PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Airlines offer free travel for Las Vegas victims' families
Southwest, Allegiant say they will give free flights to family members of people who killed or wounded in LV shooting
6:44PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Louisville names Vince Tyra as acting athletic director
Louisville names foundation board member Vince Tyra as acting replacement for AD Tom Jurich
6:43PM ( 23 minutes ago )
Report: Anti-abortion US rep asked girlfriend to get one
A Pittsburgh newspaper is reporting that an anti-abortion congressman asked a woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair to have an abortion when he thought she might be pregnant
6:38PM ( 29 minutes ago )