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Interesting Take On Defamation Cases

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  • RickyG
    I subscribe to a publication for attorneys here in Missouri. REAL interesting content and lots of good features. It is called The Missouri Lawyers Weekly..
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 25, 2012
      I subscribe to a publication for attorneys here in Missouri. REAL interesting content and lots of good features. It is called The Missouri Lawyers Weekly..

      Just came across an article on libel cases that some of you may be interested in. The use of social media n the court room is becoming more and more prevalent.

      Below is the article:

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      Missouri Lawyers Weekly


      `Likes' ruled admissible in libel trial


      The number of "likes" on a libel defendant's Facebook page was admissible on the issues of publication and intent, a U.S. District Court in Virginia has ruled in denying a new trial.

      The plaintiff operates a pet care center. The defendant owns a horse-breeding farm. The plaintiff sued for libel after the defendant posted a letter on her Facebook page accusing the plaintiff of animal abuse. A jury awarded the plaintiff $15,000 in compensatory damages and $60,000 in punitive damages.

      The defendant argued that the jury should not have been permitted to hear evidence that her Facebook page had registered in excess of 5,000 "likes."

      But the court concluded that the evidence was properly admitted.

      "The number of `likes' on [the defendant's] Facebook page is indicative of its popularity. The greater the number of `likes' on the page, the more likely it is that others visited the page and viewed whatever the defendant posted there, including the aforementioned letter. The evidence was therefore relevant as to how widely disseminated the letter was, a fact that was of consequence to the publication element of the plaintiff's libel claim. …

      "The evidence was also, generally speaking, germane as to the defendant's intent in posting the letter – namely to reach a large audience," the court said.

      However, the court concluded that the award of $60,000 in punitive damages was excessive and reduced it to $15,000 while affording the plaintiff the option of requesting a new trial.

      The case is Ebersole v. Kline-Perry, No. 1:12cv26.
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      Enjoy!


      Ricky B. Gurley


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