A Manhattan lawyer has sued two former girlfriends for disparaging remarks they made about him online. The comments, one of which called the lawyer a cheating "scum," appeared on the tell-all website Liarscheatersrus.com.
The interesting part is the lawyer does not dispute many of the comments. Despite this he's suing the women not for defamation, but for hurting his business. This shows that online comments may give rise to lawsuits not just for defamation or even invasion of privacy, but also for business claims like trade disparagement or interference with contractual relations. These claims may be easier or harder to prove, or support bigger or different forms of damages. It's something to keep in mind before venting - even truthfully - against a person, product or company online.
- 2010 has seen an outbreak of defamation lawsuits, primarily spurred on by widespread use of the internet
- The First Amendment to the US Constitution offers some protection against defamation lawsuits
- Some states have special laws designed to stop some defamation lawsuits, and a federal law is in the works
- Know when expressing your opinions may cross the line
With the widespread use of the internet has come an outbreak of defamation lawsuits. When you can voice your opinion and reach millions of people almost instantly, there's a very real possibility you may upset someone.
A trend in the outbreak of defamation lawsuits involves ordinary people like you and me who voice our opinions online about a product or service we've bought or used and aren't happy with.
Michael Steadman was the winning bidder on a time clock sold by Elliot Miller on eBay. When he got the clock, he claims it didn't work as promised on the eBay ad and wasn't the same clock in the ad.
Miller eventually, but reluctantly, refunded Steadman's money. In the meantime, Steadman left negative "feedback" on Miller for all eBayers to see: "Bad seller; he has the ethics of a used car salesman." Miller filed a defamation lawsuit for $15,000, claiming the feedback ruined his perfect eBay rating and his "commercial reputation" as an eBayer.
Joshua Newton wrote, directed, and produced a 2009 movie called "Iron Cross." To advertise the film and improve its chances of winning an Oscar, Newton invested $400,000 in a promotional blitz in Variety*, an entertainment news icon. A freelance writer, Robert Koehler, wrote a review of the film and it was published by Variety online. The review wasn't very flattering.
In March 2010, Newton filed a lawsuit against Variety claiming breach of contact, negligence, and unfair business practices by Variety, all of which defamed the film.
became upset when T&J Towing
towed his car from his apartment complex parking lot. There's some debate, but apparently Kurtz's parking permit wasn't properly displayed. After paying $118 to get his car back, he started a Facebook page called Kalamazoo Residents against T&J Towing
Hundreds of people joined the page, but not T&J. Instead it filed a $750,000 defamation suit claiming Kurtz and his site were costing it business and damaging its reputation.