May 28, 2004 08:00 AM

Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction at the hands of Justin Timberlake during the Super Bowl is not worth the $5,000 demanded by a Utah lawyer who sued CBS parent Viacom – in small claims court – for false advertising, a judge has ruled.

Eric Stephenson, the father of three children (ages 2, 4 and 6), claimed in court papers that ads and TV listings led him to believe this year’s Feb. 1 Super Bowl halftime show would be a family-oriented celebration with marching bands, balloons and emblems of patriotism, reports the Associated Press.

Instead, Stephenson claimed he was exposed to explicit song lyrics, Jackson’s breast and the sight of her and her dancers simulating sex acts, as well as what he considered Kid Rock’s desecration of the American flag by wearing it as a poncho.

Salt Lake City attorney Jeff Hunt, who represented Viacom, says Stephenson should have taken his complaint to a federal court or else to the Federal Communications Commission (which already is investigating the halftime show) rather than to a small-claims court.

Stephenson, who is weighing an appeal, expressed disappointment with the legal decision.

“The real loser here is the consumer,” he said. “Without a victory here it gives advertisers a license to lie and get away with it.”

You May Like