How a Blogger Can Do $2.5M in Damage to a Company
Sometimes you may want to sue a blogger for what they write about your company or your products. Obsidian Finance did just that, and prevailed. They sued blogger Crystal Cox. During the trial, Obsidian alleged she defamed the company with some of her Internet posts.
Obsidian won $2.5 million in damages last year. Cox had accused the company of criminal behavior.
But Cox wasn't done fighting yet. She sought a new trial in January. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) also filed an amicus brief in support of her case. They argued that the award against Cox should be overturned in the interest of free speech.
Obsidian filed an opposition to Cox's motion for a new trial, reports the Courthouse News Service.
In their motion they cite to several issues. The company pointed out that Cox was uncooperative with the court. Obsidian then addressed the EFF's claims. Specifically, the company said that Oregon's shield law doesn't apply to situations like Cox's.
Furthermore, Cox's blog post was defamatory. It would be outside the bounds of the shield law in the first place. And that the state's retraction law would not apply because her blog was on the Internet, according to Obsidian's filing.
The court's ruling on the motion may have broader implications outside this one case. After all, bloggers and reviewers have taken to the web to air out their thoughts. Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Google Reviews are all places where you might find some unkind words about your business. Should they get more legal protection? It's unclear.
That may be why there have been many different lawsuits filed against these writers. Crystal Cox's trial is not the only one in recent years. Dentists have sued their patients over reviews. Hotels have sued ex-guests. Will your company sue a blogger over their words?
- After Crystal Cox Verdict, It's Time to Define Who Is a Journalist (PBS)
- Defamation Law: The Basics (FindLaw)
- Blogger Not a Journalist, Must Pay $2.5M (FindLaw's Free Enterprise)
- Should Your Company Go After Anonymous Bloggers? (FindLaw's Free Enterprise)
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