Defamation

Hello Gorgeous! The Streisand Effect Survives Assassination Attempt

I have written plenty of posts in which I have opined that sue-happy entities simply do not understand the Streisand Effect.

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Apex Technology Group, Inc. v. Does

Date: 

12/01/2009

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

John Does 1-10 and ABC Corporations 1-10

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Superior Court of New Jersey

Case Number: 

MID-L-7879-09

Legal Counsel: 

John Miano, Esq.

Publication Medium: 

Forum

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Dismissed (total)

Description: 

In December 2009, Apex Technology Group, Inc. and its principal Sarvesh Kumar Dharayan filed a lawsuit for defamation against John Does 1-10 and ABC Corporations 1-10 in New Jersey state court.  On December 3, 2009, Apex and Dharayan filed a motion for a temporary restraining order, seeking an injunction ordering the websites www.endH1B.com, www.itgrunt.com, and www.guestworkerfraud.com to remove certain forum postings about Apex and Dharayan that the plaintiffs claim are defamatory.  According to plaintiffs' motion, the postings include allegations that Apex "employees don't receive their salary at the end of the month. . . . [the salary] is usually received @ a random date in the following month, provided you are lucky," and that "once you file/transfer your H1B to them you more or less become their slave and you will get entangled in thier [sic] web of lies and legal documents."

On December 23, 2009, the court issued an order directing the websites' upstream hosts to disable access to the websites, and ordering Facebook, Yahoo! and Comcast to disclose the identity of the individual behind two email addresses associated with www.endH1b.com that plaintiffs alleged had included defamatory postings in an email newsletter.

Update:

6/25/2010 - Accordng to one of the defendants, the court granted his motion to dismiss the complaint and lift the court's Dec. 23, 2009 order.

CMLP Notes: 

checked the status of the motion online: http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/acms/MOTN/CV0390W0E.ASP

Priority: 

1-High

Subject Area: 

Jurisdiction: 

Content Type: 

Robinson v. Albero

Date: 

11/10/2009

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Joe Albero

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Maryland Circuit Court, Wicomico County

Case Number: 

No. 0203SP009122009

Publication Medium: 

Blog

Status: 

Pending

Description: 

John Robinson, a local business owner in Salisbury, Maryland, filed a defamation lawsuit against Joe Albero, rthe blogger who operates the Salisbury News. Robinson claimed that Albero harassed his family and published defamatory statements about them on his blog.  The suit named as defendant two other contributors to the blog, but CMLP has not been able to uncover further details.

Robinson also sought a "civil peace order" against Albero, which is similar to a restraining order. It is not entirely clear whether this was in a separate proceeding from the civil lawsuit. The court dismissed the petition for a peace order at a November 25, 2009 hearing.

Content Type: 

Subject Area: 

Jurisdiction: 

Priority: 

1-High

Denying Anti-SLAPP Coverage, Massachusetts High Court Draws Activist/Journalist Boundary

A ruling by the highest court in Massachusetts could impact the methods that activists use to advocate their causes, by setting a boundary between activism that is protected by the state's anti-SLAPP statute and factual reporting, which is not.

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

DeRosa v. Rattanni

Threat Type: 

Subpoena

Date: 

11/20/2009

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Richard S. Rattanni

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Intermediary

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Court of Common Pleas, Allegheny County

Case Number: 

GD-09-021507

Legal Counsel: 

Sara Rose, American Civil Liberties Union Greater Pittsburgh Chapter

Publication Medium: 

Forum

Status: 

Pending

Description: 

On November 20, 2009, Thomas DeRosa, Chairman of the Forward Township Board of Supervisors, issued a subpoena seeking discovery from Richard S. Rattanni, the operator of the website elizabethboro.com, in order to identify the posters of allegedly defamatory comments on that website. The subpoena was issued as part of a lawsuit filed by DeRosa on  November 19, 2009 in the Court of Common Pleas for Allegheny County against two Doe defendants,  asserting claims for defamation.

According to news reports from the Pittsburg Tribune-Review, the at issue in the litigation are a series of anonymous posts made on the Elizabeth Area Discussion Board, hosted by the website elizabethboro.com. Also according to the Tribune-Review, the posts at issue alleged that DeRosa hired family members to perform work on a recently completed bridge repair project in the Township, and call DeRosa a liar.

The court granted DeRosa leave to seek discovery from Rattanni on November 24, 2009.  On January 6, 2010, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania filed a motion for protective order seeking to squash the subpoena on behalf of Rattanni.

Update:

03/03/10 - The court held a hearing on Rattanni's motion to quash.  According to one press account, the court determined that Rattanni had standing to assert the First Amendment rights of his readers.

Content Type: 

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Priority: 

1-High

DeRosa v. Does

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

11/19/2009

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Howard and Robin Doe

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Court of Common Pleas, Allegheny County

Case Number: 

GD-09-021507

Publication Medium: 

Forum

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Description: 

On November 19, 2009, Thomas DeRosa, Chairman of the Forward Township Board of Supervisors, filed a complaint in the Court of Common Pleas for Allegheny County against two Doe defendants, asserting claims for defamation. 

According to news reports from the Pittsburg Tribune-Review, the allegations are based on a series of anonymous posts made on the Elizabeth Area Discussion Board, hosted by the website elizabethboro.com. Also according to the Tribune-Review, the posts at issue alleged that DeRosa hired family members to perform work on a recently completed bridge repair project in the Township, and call DeRosa a liar.

On November 24, 2009, the court granted DeRosa's motion to seek discovery from Richard S. Rattanni, the operator of the elizabethboro.com website, in order to identify the posters of the allegedly defamatory comments.  On January 6, 2010, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania filed a motion for protective order seeking to squash the subpoena on behalf of Rattanni.

Update:

03/03/10 - The court held a hearing on Rattanni's motion to quash.  According to one press account, the court determined that Rattanni had standing to assert the First Amendment rights of his readers.

 

Content Type: 

Subject Area: 

Priority: 

1-High

Jurisdiction: 

Moore v. Boing Boing

Threat Type: 

Correspondence

Date: 

12/15/2009

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Boing Boing

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Organization

Legal Counsel: 

Marc E. Mayer - Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP

Publication Medium: 

Blog

Status: 

Pending

Description: 

In December 2009, counsel for Demi Moore sent a demand letter to Boing Boing, in regard to a November 17 Xeni Jardin post titled "Was Demi Moore Ralph-Laurenized on 'W' mag cover, with missing hip-flesh?."  The post consisted almost entirely of commentary from Anthony Citrano, a Los Angeles-based fashion photographer.  Citrano speculated that Moore's hip looked digitally manipulated in a cover photo for W Magazine and offered some commentary on the "clumsy mistakes" and "bad art" involved in photoshop botches.

Days later, Jardin published another post titled "Demi claims missing hipflesh is for real. But $5000 says its Moore photoshopping" that icluded the full text of Moore's denial on Twitter, and an offer from Mr. Citrano to make a $5,000 donation to a charity of Ms. Moore's choosing if the image she'd published were provably the unretouched original.

Moore's December 15 letter asserted that the posts defamed Ms. Moore by suggesting that she "secretly uses extraordinary artificial means to alter her appearance," and by insinuating that Ms. Moore had been untruthful in informing people that the image accurately reflected her body and hip. The letter also enclosed supporting letters from W's Creative Director Dennis Freedman and from Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, the photographers who took the photo. Freedman's letter stated that "no one at the magazine did any retouching of the image of Demi Moore," and the photographers' letter said "there was ABSOLUTELY no retouching on her lips or waist or legs!!"

Moore's letter demanded an apology and retraction, and that Boing Boing remove all false and defamatory statements about Ms. Moore or the photo from the website.  The letter also warned: "Confidential Legal Notice, Publication or Dissemination Is Prohibited." 

In response, counsel for Boing Boing sent a response letter disputing the validity of Moore's claims. The letter denied that Boing Boing made any provably false statements and that the posts said anything defamatory or disparaging about Moore—"[t]o the contrary, any criticism of the photographs by Mr. Citrano is directed entirely at those who may have altered the photographs."  The letter also argued that Boing Boing acted without actual malice, relying "reasonably and thoughtfully upon the opinion of Mr. Citrano—a professional photagrapher with expertise in fashion photography (including manipulation and retouching techniques)." 

In December, Jardin published another post explaining Boing Boing's position and attaching both letters. The post concluded: 

At no point was it the intent of this blog, or this blogger, to insult or offend Ms. Moore, who has embraced the openness of internet culture by way of frequent and intimate Twitter updates. Discussions about whether and/or how a widely circulated image may have been altered are common here on Boing Boing. We are a blog about digital culture, after all, and the technical and creative details that go into producing the images we consume are an essential part of our culture. 

Moore's counsel sent a nearly identical letter to Jezebel.com and fashion photography blogger Anthony Citrano

Content Type: 

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Moore v. Jezebel.com

Threat Type: 

Correspondence

Date: 

12/15/2009

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Jezebel.com; Anna Holmes

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization

Publication Medium: 

Blog

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Description: 

In December 2009, counsel for Demi Moore sent a demand letter to Anna Holmes, Editor-In-Chief of Jezebel.com, in regard to a Jezebel post from November that speculated about whether Moore's cover photo for W Magazine had been photoshopped because of an extremely skinny looking left hip. 

The letter asserted that the post defamed Ms. Moore by suggesting that she "secretly uses extraordinary artificial means to alter her appearance," and by insinuating that Ms. Moore had been untruthful in informing people that the image accurately reflected her body and hip. The letter also enclosed supporting letters from W's Creative Director Dennis Freedman and from Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, the photographers who took the photo. Freedman's letter stated that "no one at the magazine did any retouching of the image of Demi Moore," and the photographers' letter said "there was ABSOLUTELY no retouching on her lips or waist or legs!!"

Moore's letter demanded an apology and retraction, and that Jezebel.com remove all false and defamatory statements about Ms. Moore or the photo from the website.  The letter also warned: "Confidential Legal Notice, Publication or Dissemination Is Prohibited." 

In response, Jezebel.com posted the letter and wrote a follow-up piece on the situation.  No photos or statements were removed, but Holmes did publish an apology, of sorts:

That said, we would like to take this opportunity to sincerely apologize if we cast aspersions on, or in any way hurt the feelings of Ms. Moore's left hip, waist, or legs. Our only intention was to call attention to distorted and disturbing-looking magazine covers... and the editors, photographers, art directors and retouchers who commission and create them.

Moore's counsel sent a nearly identical letter to Boing Boing and fashion photography blogger Anthony Citrano.

Content Type: 

Subject Area: 

Priority: 

1-High

Jurisdiction: 

Landlord's Defamation Suit Against Tenant Over Moldy Apartment Tweet Dismissed

Andrew Wang of Chicago Breaking News reports that an Illinois judge has dismissed Horizon Realty Group's defamation lawsuit against Amanda Bonnen. Surely you remember this gem from last summer?

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Castaldi v. Goetz Fitzpatrick LLP

Date: 

07/02/2009

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Goetz Fitzpatrick LLP; Helene Byrnes; Matthew Byrnes

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Westchester

Case Number: 

015018/2009

Legal Counsel: 

Goetz & Fitzpatrick, P.C.

Publication Medium: 

Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Disposition: 

Material Removed

Description: 

In July 2009, Marc Castaldi, a real estate developer, brought a defamation lawsuit in New York state court against Goetz Fitzpatrick, LLP, after he discovered LegalLawComplaints.com (no longer available), which linked to documents related to legal claims involving Castaldi or his business. Goetz Fitzpatrick is a law firm that represented Matthew and Helene Byrnes against Castaldi in a different case regarding a real estate development matter.

Castaldi's complaint alleged that the Byrnes funded the creation of the website and claimed that the unfairly selective nature of the documents was intended to harm his business. It also accused the firm of tortious interference with Castaldi's prospective business and asked for an injunction to remove the website and for damages.

The website has since been removed, but the lawsuit is still pending.

Content Type: 

Priority: 

1-High

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Massachusetts High Court Applies Fair Report Privilege to Anonymous Account of Closed Meeting

As both a journalist and a techie, I'm pretty keen on the free flow of information, and thus pretty keen in turn on the importance of protecting journalists, both professional and citizen, who are in the business of facilitating that flow. So it was reassuring to see that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled on the side of the angels this week in the case of Howell v. Enterprise, granting protection from libel claims to reporters who fairly and accurately report official government proceedings.

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Clem v. Richmond Register

Threat Type: 

Subpoena

Date: 

08/25/2008

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Richmond Register

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Media Company

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Madison Circuit Court

Case Number: 

08-CI-01296

Legal Counsel: 

Kenyon Meyer

Publication Medium: 

Website

Status: 

Pending

Description: 

A Kentucky college student who was kicked out of a mall for wearing a short dress issued a subpoena to the Richmond Register seeking the identity of an anonymous poster on the newspaper's website.  The subpoena was issued in connection with a case filed in Kentucky state court against the anonymous commenter for allegedly posting a defamatory comment about her on the Richmond Register's site on Aug. 13, 2008, under a story about the mall incident. According to the complaint, the commenter, identified only as 12bme, claimed Clem was kicked out because she exposed herself to another woman and her children. 

The newspaper subsequently deleted the comment and banned 12bme from the site for violating the site's terms of service. According to the Student Press Law Center, the newspaper opposed Clem's subpoena, claiming that the identity of the commenter  should fall under the Kentucky's reporter shield law because a Register reporter wrote an article about the lawsuit, which mentioned the comment.

Content Type: 

Subject Area: 

Priority: 

1-High

CMLP Notes: 

6/28/09 AVM - court website has no images, nothing in W, similar to the LVR case 

6/24/09 CMF

Jurisdiction: 

Clem v. Doe

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

08/25/2008

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

John Doe a/k/a 12bme

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Madison Circuit Court

Case Number: 

08-CI-01296

Publication Medium: 

Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Description: 

On August 25, 2008, a Kentucky college student who was kicked out of a mall for wearing a short dress filed suit in Kentucky state court against an anonymous commenter for allegedly posting a defamatory comment about her on a newspaper's website.  According to news reports, the comment appeared on the Richmond Register's site on Aug. 13, 2008, under a story about the mall incident. According to the complaint, the commenter, identified only as 12bme, claimed Clem was kicked out because she exposed herself to another woman and her children. 

The newspaper subsequently deleted the comment and banned 12bme from the site for violating the site's terms of service. Clem filed suit against 12bme and subpoenaed the Register for the identity of the poster. According to the Student Press Law Center, the newspaper opposed Clem's subpoena, claiming that the identity of the commenter  should fall under the Kentucky's reporter shield law because a Register reporter wrote an article about the lawsuit, which mentioned the comment.

Content Type: 

Subject Area: 

Priority: 

1-High

CMLP Notes: 

6/28/09 AVM - court website has no images, nothing in W, similar to the LVR case 

6/24/09 CMF

Jurisdiction: 

Kim Kardashian Finds Herself in a Low Calorie Twitter Mess

Last week, celebrity, model, socialite, and actress Kim Kardashian found herself in diet hell.  Dr. Sanford Siegal, creator of the "Cookie Diet," and his Company, Dr.

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Siegal v. Kardashian

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

12/28/2009

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Kim Kardashian

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Circuit Court of the 11th Judicial Circuit in and for Miami-Dade County, Florida

Publication Medium: 

Micro-blog

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Description: 

Dr. Sanford Siegal, creator of the "Cookie Diet" weight-loss program, and his company, Dr. Siegal's Direct Nutritionals, LLC, filed a defamation lawsuit against celebrity socialite, model, and actress Kim Kardashian after she posted negative comments about the "Cookie Diet" on Twitter.  

The controversy began when Dr. Siegal's company placed a hyperlink on its website to a third-party article that incorrectly claimed that Kardashian, among other celebrities, used the "Cookie Diet" program.  According to the complaint, Kardashian then posted the following comments on her Twitter page in October 2009:

14(a) Dr. Siegal's Cookie Diet is falsely promoting that I'm on this diet.  NOT TRUE!  I would never do this unhealthy diet! I do QuickTrim! . . .

14(b) If this Dr. Siegal is lying about me being on this diet, what else are they lying about?  Not cool!  . . .

The complaint alleges that these statements are false and defamatory, and that Kardashian had a "commercial motive" to defame Dr. Siegal's company because she is a paid spokesperson for QuickTrim diet products.  

Content Type: 

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Route 60 Hyundai v. Alascio

Date: 

12/04/2009

Threat Type: 

Correspondence

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Thomas J. Alascio

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Legal Counsel: 

Marc J. Randazza - Randazza Legal Group

Publication Medium: 

Micro-blog
Social Network

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Description: 

Counsel for Route 60 Hyundai, a car dealership in Florida, sent a demand letter to Thomas Alascio after he posted critical comments about the dealership on Twitter and Facebook.  The letter accused Alascio of defaming the company and demanded that he cease and desist from making futher defamatory comments and take all steps necessary to remove comments about Route 60 from the Internet.

Alascio published a series of comments over a two-week period in October 2009 after a dispute with a Route 60 employee. His tweets took the form of a running joke harping on Route 60's alleged inadequacies, saying that Route 60 is "the worst car dealership on the planet," that it "sucks," and that its service "stinks," among other things.

After receiving the demand letter, Alascio retained Marc Randazza as counsel, and Randazza sent a response letter disputing the legal and factual sufficiency of Route 60's claims.  In particular, Randazza argued that all of Alascio's alleged statements were statements of opinion or rhetorical hyperbole, which are not capble of supporting a defamation action.  In addition, Randazza warned that his client would pursue sanctions and file a counterclaim for abuse of process if Route 60 filed a complaint.  

Content Type: 

Jurisdiction: 

Subject Area: 

Carmichael v. White

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

07/22/2008

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

William A. White

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Superior Court of New Jersey Law Division, Bergen County

Case Number: 

L-005825-08

Publication Medium: 

Website

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Pending

Description: 

On July 30, 2008, Alexander Carmichael sued William White for defamation in New Jersey state court.  Carmichael runs the League of American Patriots, a white supremacist group.  White operates Overthrow.com, the website of the American National Socialist Workers Party.

According to the complaint, White posted several articles in May 2008 stating or suggesting that Carmichael and his organization had ties to child pornography and a "pedophile sex network." 

Content Type: 

Subject Area: 

CMLP Notes: 

Docket available on Westlaw.

Jurisdiction: 

Threat Source: 

MLRC

Carabelli v. The Michigan Messenger

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

10/01/2008

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

The Michigan Messenger; Center for Independent Media; Eartha Jane Melzer; Jefferson Morley; David Bennahum

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Macomb County Circuit Court

Case Number: 

2008-004340-CZ

Publication Medium: 

Website

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Dismissed (total)

Description: 

James Carabelli, chairman of the Republican Party in Macomb County, Michigan, sued The Michigan Messenger, a news site owned by the Center for Independent Media, for defamation in Michigan state court in October 2008. The lawsuit revolves around a September 10, 2008 article entitled "Lose your house, lose your vote," written by staff reporter Eartha Jane Melzer. The lawsuit also named as defendants Melzer, Jefferson Morley, editorial director of the website, and David Bennahum, President and CEO of the Center for Independent Media.

Melzer's article discussed alleged plans on the part of Republican officials in Michigan to challenge voters based on lists of home foreclosures. It attributed the following quote to Carabelli: "We will have a list of foreclosed homes and will make sure people aren’t voting from those addresses." Carabelli denies having made this statement and the existence of any such plans. The article drew national attention and spurred a lawsuit by the Obama campaign against the Michigan Republican Party, which subsequently settled.

The Michigan Messenger stands behind the accuracy of the quotation. After the suit was filed, Jefferson Morely told the First Amendment Center:

We've reviewed Eartha's phone records and e-mails to recreate what Eartha reported and how she did it. . . . This review of the record leaves no doubt that the conversation with Mr. Carabelli took place, that the question of voter challenges was discussed, that Mr. Carabelli said what he said, that Eartha reported those comments immediately and accurately to her editors, and then to readers.

Doug Preisse, an Ohio G.O.P. official, also challenged the accuracy of remarks attributed to him in Melzer's article. The website issued a clarification regarding Preisse's comments on September 19.

Update:

01/13/2009 - Judge ordered dismissal of the case for non-service. 

Content Type: 

Subject Area: 

Threat Source: 

RSS

CMLP Notes: 

Source: RSS first amendment center

Priority: 

1-High

Jurisdiction: 

Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce v. "Elmer Fudd"

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

09/04/2009

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

John Doe a.k.a "Elmer Fudd"

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

Horry County Court of Common Pleas, South Carolina

Legal Counsel: 

Pro Se

Publication Medium: 

Website

Status: 

Pending

Disposition: 

Subpoena Enforced

Description: 

On September 4, 2009, the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce sued  "Elmer Fudd," an anonymous commenter on TheSunNews.com.  From Popehat (quoting the original Sun News article that is no longer available):

The posts, which appeared on the comment sections of several stories last month, claimed the Horry County Sheriff's Department had conducted raids at the chamber and other businesses. The posts also claimed that computers were seized from those businesses, although a sheriff’s department spokesman said no raids occurred and no computers were seized.

"The claims were absolutely false," said Cherie Blackburn, a lawyer representing the chamber of commerce. Blackburn termed the posts "a vicious cyber defamation campaign" in court documents filed Friday in Conway.

The publisher of TheSunNews.com notified "Elmer Fudd" that, pursuant to a subpoeana, she would reveal his identity to the Chamber unless he objected to the subpoena. The newspaper is not a party to the suit. "Elmer Fudd" filed a motion protesting the release of his information, arguing that the subpoena violated his First Amendment right to speak anonymously and that he did not have sufficient time to find an attorney.  Fudd did not appear through an attorney at a December hearing on the Chamber's motion to compel disclosure of his identifying information.

According to TheSunNews.com, the court signed an order on December 4 compelling it to turn over identifying information to the Chamber.  The SunNews.com did not have records identifying the poster's name, but turned over an email address "noadtax@gmail.com."  (There appears to be a related facebook page, No Ad Tax.)

TheSunNews.com reported on December 5 that Grand Strand Chamber of Commerce founder Ward Shepherd named former Myrtle Beach Mayor Mark McBride as "Elmer Fudd," after being subpoenaed by an attorney for the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber.

Content Type: 

Subject Area: 

Priority: 

1-High

CMLP Notes: 

-MW reviewing 10/. cannot find court documents. 

Jurisdiction: 

Abshire v. Pearl

Date: 

01/01/2006

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

David Pearl

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual

Court Type: 

State

Court Name: 

67th District Court of Tarrant County (Texas); Second District Court of Appeals (Texas)

Case Number: 

67-222495-07 (trial level); 02-08-00286-CV (appellate level)

Legal Counsel: 

Gregory S. Gober

Publication Medium: 

Forum

Relevant Documents: 

Status: 

Concluded

Disposition: 

Dismissed (total)

Description: 

Dale Abshire filed a lawsuit in a Texas state court against David Pearl after Pearl posted a series of allegedly defamatory responses on the Yahoo! Finance AXA Internet message board in response to Abshire's posts. According to the appellate decision in the case, Pearl's post cited sexual harassment as a reason for Abshire's termination from his previous employment.

Pearl moved to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that the court had no personal jurisdiction over him because he resided in New York and had no ties with Texas other than mentioning it in his message board posting.  The trial court denied the motion, and Pearl appealed.

A Texas appellate court reversed the lower court decision and dismissed the case, ruling that Pearl had not "purposefully availed" himself of the privilege of conducting activities in Texas. Rather, the court found that "Pearl's internet connections with Texas were in fortuitous in response to the postings of a Texas resident, Abshire."

CMLP Notes: 

Priority: 

1-High

Subject Area: 

Jurisdiction: 

Content Type: 

Pages

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