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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    7

    Unhappy Being Sued for Defamation for Blog Postings

    I am accused of creating a blog about somebody, calling him a criminal, calling his daughter ugly, and then linking to many lawsuits filed against him in civil court, listed on our county's website, and then making commentary.
    The blog was up for a few months, then removed. The plaintiff copied the whole blog, and made his own website and posted it all, with his responses to everything.
    I am being sued for $1 million. I have no money. The plaintiff did not show up to the court date so it was dismissed with prejudice. He then filed a motion for reconsideration on the same day, stating they sent an email to the court requesting to appear by telephone, but their email bounced back into their spam and they caught it too late.
    There is a new court date next month to rule on this motion.
    I don't know what to do or what to expect. Any insight is greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Key West, FL
    Posts
    2,350

    Default Re: Being Sued for Defamation for Blog Postings

    Do some research. Find out if an email to the clerk is an acceptable method of contacting the clerk. Email is not totally reliable, so I don't see how it can be. Why didn't he call the clerk? He obviously had many days or weeks to notify the clerk he wanted to appear by telephone. Why didn't he write the clerk? It was not excusable neglect to wait until the day of the hearing or the day before to contact the clerk.

    Don't let him just testify about the alleged email. He can't testify about facts not in evidence. Make sure he introduces the email and the bounce messages. If he can't, I would argue his entire excuse is bogus and he is trying to mislead the court. His motion should be denied. There is no excusable conduct to permit the dismissal to be reversed.

    If it goes to trial, you need to research libel law in your state. Truth is a complete defense. If though you say he is convicted of a specific crime, and it is not true, that is libel. If you say he is a crook, a criminal, a jerk, and similar things, that is hyperbole, and is protected free speech.

    Also get copies of both sites from the internet wayback machine, copies of hosting bills, etc. to prove the site was up only a short while. Argue to the court that he has republished the content and far more people have seen his site. His republication negates any liability you may have had as he has published the information himself. Republication by the plaintiff is a really dumb idea.

    He has to prove damages. There is no way he can prove anything near a million.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    424

    Default Re: Being Sued for Defamation for Blog Postings

    Did you create the blog?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: Being Sued for Defamation for Blog Postings

    well, first, especially since court procedures are already involved, naming the state would have really been a good idea. On top of that, when you posted, you were asked to provide the pertinent state as well.

    but in generalities:

    since you have a chance to argue to have the dismissal upheld, I suggest you either hire an attorney or learn, quickly, how to do just that. I would suggest you have a decent shot at having the dismissal upheld considering the reason he missed court.

    calling him a criminal,
    is he a criminal?

    calling his daughter ugly
    that is opinion and not actionable.

    did you post this blog to intentionally cause him harm?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Being Sued for Defamation for Blog Postings

    No, I did not do it.

    The state is Arizona.

    Some would consider him a criminal, but I guess technically he has never been charged with a crime. The blog stated that its purpose was to warn others of his leery business practices.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: Being Sued for Defamation for Blog Postings

    well, if he is not a criminal and somebody called him a criminal, then most definitely, he has been libeled.

    I would work diligently to attempt to uphold the dismissal from the judge already in place. Other than that, there is a great possibility of losing.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Being Sued for Defamation for Blog Postings

    jk- I will respectfully ignore your 'advice', as it does not sound right in the least. Now, I'm obviously not a lawyer, but whether or not the guy is a criminal seems to be a moot point. I didn't do it, and unless fabricated, no evidence would ever suggest I was responsible. I find it hard to believe someone can almost blindly point a finger and say, "this person called me a criminal! I have been libeled and am now they owe me the completely outrageous and random sum of $1 Million Dollars!

    Please.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,867

    Default Re: Being Sued for Defamation for Blog Postings

    Quote Quoting JaneJane
    View Post
    jk- I will respectfully ignore your 'advice', as it does not sound right in the least. Now, I'm obviously not a lawyer, but whether or not the guy is a criminal seems to be a moot point. I didn't do it, and unless fabricated, no evidence would ever suggest I was responsible. I find it hard to believe someone can almost blindly point a finger and say, "this person called me a criminal! I have been libeled and am now they owe me the completely outrageous and random sum of $1 Million Dollars!

    Please.
    sorry but calling him a criminal IS the point. If you call a person a criminal and they are not, you are lying about them, you are sullying their reputation, you are defaming them.

    I missed the point about you did not post the defamatory information. You did not include that in your first post so it sounded like you had posted to the blog and as such, were being sued.

    How did you get involved in this then? Where did your name come into the mess?

    somewhere along the line, if you are not guilty of the action, that would have been included in your original response to the suit. You spoke nothing of how you responded to the suit. What did your response include? What did the suit claim?

    How did you get involved with this?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    3,835

    Default Re: Being Sued for Defamation for Blog Postings

    Quote Quoting JaneJane
    View Post
    No, I did not do it.

    The state is Arizona.

    Some would consider him a criminal, but I guess technically he has never been charged with a crime. The blog stated that its purpose was to warn others of his leery business practices.

    "Implying" his business practice is leery may be false light defamation.

    What specifically are the Counts/Causes of Actions in the complaint?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Key West, FL
    Posts
    2,350

    Default Re: Being Sued for Defamation for Blog Postings

    Although I have not looked at AZ law, false light defamation is a tort accepted in few states. Recently the Florida Supreme Court totally eliminated that tort. If your own state doesn't have much case law on it, you can make an argument using other state's case law. It is not controlling but the court will take it as guidance.

    However, there is no mention of that tort by the op.

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