Posts Tagged ‘libel slander and defamation’

Free speech roundup

  • Eugene Volokh weighs in again on Oregon Sweet Cakes case, agrees with my view that agency’s order against Melissa and Aaron Klein’s speech is overbroad;
  • Canada: “Ruling in Twitter harassment trial could have enormous fallout for free speech” [Christie Blatchford/National Post, earlier]
  • Also in Canada: Law Society of Alberta cites controversial-speech veteran Ezra Levant, a lawyer, over column criticizing human rights commission [National Post]
  • “Lawyer Can’t Unmask Anonymous Critic on Avvo, Court Rules” [Robert Ambrogi]
  • “Couple ordered to pay $280K for ‘frivolous’ lawsuit against Hoboken bloggers, judge says” [Jersey Journal via @NJCivilJustice]
  • Las Vegas lawyer’s libel suit provokes laughs but there’s a serious point at stake [Adam Steinbaugh, Popehat]
  • “Freedom will not bow to bloody attacks”: legislature in Iceland repeals blasphemy law in response to Paris massacre [IB Times] But Charlie Hebdo itself, in Paris, says it will run no more prophet Muhammad cartoons [WaPo and more: Michael Moynihan, Politico Europe]

Free speech roundup

  • March of “cyberbullying” law continues: “New Zealand passes law making it punishable by fine or jail time for “causing emotional distress” on the Internet [The Register]
  • Wisconsin John Doe prosecutors tapped email and text communications of conservative activists, also got bank records [M.D. Kittle, Wisconsin Watchdog]
  • Rare instance where pro-speech, anti-harass groups agree: ICANN shouldn’t zap site-owner privacy [Online Abuse Prevention Initiative via @sarahjeong] More: Cathy Gellis, Popehat;
  • “Researcher Headed To Australian Supreme Court In Attempt To Hold Google Responsible For Posts At Ripoff Reports” [Tim Cushing, TechDirt]
  • When you vigorously deny an accusation, do you defame the accuser as a liar? [Popehat on Bill Cosby litigation]
  • “They do this because they can.” [Mark Steyn on Preet Bharara’s “prosecutocracy” and the Reason subpoena, earlier here, here, etc.]
  • Remember, badspeak can be evidence of wrongthink: “[London Mayor] Boris Johnson ‘could be breaching sex discrimination laws’ for defending Sir Tim Hunt over sexism row” [Independent]

Slept through the insults, awarded $500,000

Patient undergoing sedation for colonoscopy leaves cellphone recording, which picks up a string of insulting remarks made by anesthesiologist and others while he was under. The comments alleged to be defamatory were mostly heard only by other health workers present, so reputational damages are at best uncertain, but a Northern Virginia jury valued the sheer indignity of it all at $500,000. [Washington Post, Orlando Sentinel]


After suing client over bad Yelp review, lawyer/therapist winds up filing subpoena, and bar complaint, against a legal blogger often linked in this space [Popehat] “Watch Repairman Threatens Lawsuit Over Negative Yelp Review” [Faces of Lawsuit Abuse; New York, N.Y.] “Hadeed Carpet Cleaning’s Quest to Identify Anonymous Yelp Reviewers Is Stymied – at Least for Now” [Paul Alan Levy]

Owner sues customer over negative reviews of dog obedience business

Jennifer Ujimori posted negative reviews on Yelp and Angie’s List after being dissatisfied with her experience with a Burke, Va. dog obedience class. Now the owner is suing her for damages. [Washington Post] Unlike D.C., Maryland and more than half the states, Virginia has not enacted a law (sometimes labeled “anti-SLAPP” statutes) that “allow for the quick dismissal of cases a judge deems to be targeting First Amendment rights.” I’m scheduled to be a guest on Washington, D.C.’s Fox 5 (WTTG) to discuss the case around 8:30 this morning (Friday).

Update: here’s the clip:

State of free speech doctrine at Harvard

Harvard lawprof Noah Feldman on the Paris/Fox case: let government sue media for saying (or maybe even for letting guests say) wrong things about government. Sure, what could go wrong?

Related, and outrageous: Morgan State University (Baltimore) journalism school dean wants to classify religiously irreverent speech as “fighting words,” which would throw into doubt its legal protection [DeWayne Wickham, USA Today] More: Allahpundit, Taranto/WSJ, The College Fix; edited to reflect Wickham’s (non)-clarification of his stance in the last-named link).

P.S. Via @benjaminlam: “Today’s Straits Times [Singapore] carried Feldman’s article.”