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Does David Lat of Above the Law have reason to be concerned after the announcement of an $11 million dollar plaintiffs' verdict (USA Today, 10/12/06) rendered against a Louisiana woman who posted messages on the Internet accusing her of being a "crook," a "con artist" and a "fraud"? According to the article:

Legal analysts say the Sept. 19 award by a jury in Broward County, Fla. — first reported Friday by the Daily Business Review — represents the largest such judgment over postings on an Internet blog or message board. Lyrissa Lidsky, a University of Florida law professor who specializes in free-speech issues, calls the award "astonishing."

Of course, being labeled a "hottie" is a far cry from being called a "con artist," so Lat is probably safe. Still, he criticizes the outcome:

Eleven-point-three million? Most wrongful-death awards that are smaller than that. And it's not like Scheff is some movie star who can no longer command $10 million a picture because someone called her a child molester on a blog. She's just a small business owner whose ex-client said some negative things about her on a random website. Jeez.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on October 12, 2006 at 05:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)


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