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Court Upholds $60,000 Verdict Against Blogger for Posting Truth

September 2, 2011

In a frightening decision for the First Amendment, a Minnesota trial court has refused
to set aside a $60,000 jury award for “defamation.” The defendant blogger is accused of writing truthful information about the director of a community association. That’s right, truthful information.

Generally, truth is an absolute defense to defamation. To be defamatory, a statement must be false and cause some damage to the subject. Here, the plaintiff lost his job. Maybe he lost his job because of the posting. Without some lie, exaggeration, or misrepresentation of some kind, it’s simply not defamation.

This case is an outlier, for sure, but it is still a good reminder to bloggers: be careful who you write about, and be prepared to fight for your right to do so. The blogger in this case is preparing an appeal.

Professor Volokh at UCLA has commentary on the legal specifics for those who are interested.

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 3, 2011 10:03 am

    What the fuck.


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