Tweet critical of business gets woman sued for $50K

by Walter Olson on July 28, 2009

Former tenant Amanda Bonnen had just 22 followers on Twitter when she commented in a strongly negative way about Horizon Realty of Chicago. And here’s what a spokesman for Horizon is quoted as saying about its lawsuit:

We’re a sue first, ask questions later kind of an organization.

[Podcasting News, Mashable] More: WSJ Law Blog, Charles @ Popehat, Volokh, Bayard/Citizen Media Law. And according to a followup in the WSJ Law Blog, Horizon has apologized for the “sue first” comment, characterizing it as tongue in cheek, and says when it filed the libel action it was already the defendant in a lawsuit filed by Bonnen.

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Landlord vs. twittering tenant, cont’d
07.31.09 at 12:08 am

{ 8 comments }

1 Cousin Dave 07.28.09 at 1:45 pm

So this is obviously a SLAPP action. I wonder what kind of laws Illinois has about that.

2 Diogenes 07.28.09 at 3:12 pm

“We’re a sue first, ask questions later kind of an organization.”

What Illinois needs is a Loser Pays first, SLAPP suit massive damages later kind of justice system.

3 JAB 07.28.09 at 4:21 pm

What a foolish company. The tweet wouldn’t have made me think twice about renting from them, but now I’ll never even consider it. And thanks to Drudge, they’re now famous nationwide as one of the most idiotic companies in America. This cannot be good for business.

4 L Nettles 07.28.09 at 4:49 pm

I just want to post here so I’ll be counted when some miserable paralegal has to go on the net and count comments to blogs on this issue. FTR I live in the South and I have seen plenty of mildew in my life, and I believe the most mildew has an IQ higher the fools who “sue first ask questions later”

5 John Burgess 07.28.09 at 9:36 pm

According to the Chicago papers, this is actually a counter-suit. Bonnen has apparently filed a class-action suit against the real estate management company, though no other tenants have joined the class, according to Chicago papers.

It’s the management company’s view, it seems, that having already been defamed by the suit, the twitter post is piling a libel on top.

I don’t know that the management company is outright stupid in suing, but I don’t think I’d have done so in its place.

6 Jab 07.29.09 at 9:30 am

has apparently filed a class-action suit against the real estate management company, though no other tenants have joined the class, according to Chicago papers.

ok this is actually pretty funny too.

7 Robert 07.30.09 at 12:17 am

At the risk of getting us all sued, there are some people who are “crazy mold people” who can smell things and feel sick when others can’t find/see/smell anything.

Don’t forget, this *is* a mold case.

Of course, I’m not talking about this case specifically, just mold cases in general.

8 Frogger 07.30.09 at 4:43 pm

She should try convincing her local media like the news, newspapers, health inspector, or Better Buisness Bureau to investigate since complaining on Twitter won’t help much for her cause.

I heard Mike Galonos from HLN said the company stated they, “We are a sue first, ask questions latter kind of company”

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