Posts Tagged ‘Free Speech’

Can’t beat someone in a defamation suit because they told the truth…

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… then just get a jury to side with you for “tortious interference”.

Moore sued Hoff in June 2009 for at least $50,000. The suit focused on five allegedly biased and defamatory statements on Hoff’s blog. Moore’s attorney argued that Hoff should be responsible for comments others made on his website because Hoff had created a “defamation zone.”

Moore, after being fired by the Jordan Area Community Council in January 2009, was hired at the U of M’s Urban Research and Outreach/Engagement Center to study mortgage foreclosures. When Hoff found out, he wrote a post accusing Moore of being involved in a “high-profile fraudulent mortgage,” one of several that resulted in a 16-year prison sentence for former real estate agent Larry Maxwell. Moore was not charged in the Maxwell case.

Hoff said he told the truth and had documentation.

District Judge Denise Reilly threw out four of the five statements, saying they were either opinion or the comments of others on the blog. With respect to the remaining statement, the jury agreed with Clark’s claim that Hoff had committed “tortious interference” by meddling with Moore’s employment. Clark pointed out to the jury that Hoff, in a later blog post, took partial credit for Moore’s firing.

What?

But wait, it gets even better!

Don Allen was originally named as a co-defendant because he sent a letter to the U of M urging Moore’s termination, then copied the letter to Hoff’s blog. Before the case went to trial, he settled with Moore and testified against Hoff. Allen, who operates his own blog, “The Independent Business News Network,” applauded the verdict.

“It’s unfortunate for all bloggers, but you have to have some sense of responsibility,” he said. “You have to attack the issues, not the individuals.”

Brilliant! So this guy settles after actually sending a letter to the University of Minnesota, and then has the balls to say that Hoff needs to be responsible? Classy.

I hope like hell Hoff wins on appeal, and that the jury members who ruled in favor of the plaintiff die a painful death while their family watches.


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