Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Can you be sued for opinions in your blog?

In this week's Business Insurance magazine, Judy Greenwald writes that a New York blogger ruling from the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals may have a wider impact. She says a federal appellate court's dismissal of a defamation lawsuit brought by Brooklyn moving company Best Van Lines Inc. against Iowa blogger Tim Walker "will have influence outside New York State."

On June 26th, the court reaffirmed other courts' rulings that the Iowa blogger who "runs a nonprofit Web site that provides information and opinions on household movers" is not liable for what the plaintiff claims to be "defamatory statements" under the state's long-arm statute. Walker published two blog entries stating that according to court documents, the moving company was "performing household moves without legal authorization and without the required insurance."

Greenwald quotes Mass.-based attorney, Robert J. Ambrogi as saying, "I think this is going to be one of those seminal cases that becomes kind of a turning point in defining the law on this issue."

Beth Bar of The New York Law Journal spells out the facts of the decision very well.

It appears that our freedom of Internet speech - even if "defamatory" - is still protected. So, blog on my friends, but remember if you publish it online and someone doesn't like what you have to say, there is always the chance for a lawsuit no matter what sayeth the courts.

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