Every so often or in a minute or two, you’ll read of a slander, libel or defamation lawsuit that not only makes one question the common sense of other Homo sapiens but brings out the appeal of secondary uses of Louisville Sluggers.
The case cited below evokes the latter response.
“Defamation” is the general term used internationally. Libel and slander both require pulication. The fundamental distinction between libel and slander lies solely in the form in which the defamatory matter is published.
If the offending material is published in some fleeting form, as by spoken words or sounds, sign language, gestures and the like, then this is slander.
Libel is defined as defamation by written or printed words, pictures, or in any form other than by spoken words or gestures.
Vogel v. Felice
Plaintiffs John Vogel and Paul Grannis filed a complaint charging defendant Joseph Felice with libel, false light invasion of privacy, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, and negligent damage to reputation. The gist of the complaint was that the defendant “ran a website through http://www.geocities.com/bobvalenzuelasass [sic] and http://www.geocities.com/bobvalenzuelasass.isonfire.com,”; which “contained defamatory statements about Plaintiffs, including but not limited to, a list entitled `Top Ten Dumb Asses,’” in which Vogel and Grannis were “listed as the number 1 and number 2 dumb asses, respectively.”
WHY THEY ARE STILL DUMB ASSES.
The accusation that plaintiffs are top-ranking “Dumb Asses” cannot survive application of the rule that in order to support a defamation claim, the challenged statement must be found to convey “a provably false factual assertion.” One man’s dumb ass may be another’s savant. IOW, they couldn’t prove they WEREN’T dumb asses.
(The behind the scenes story is the plaintiffs were running for local office and the defendant web authored articles revealing the plaintiffs to be dead-beat dads, bankrupt snake oil salesmen and alimony skippers. Considering they, the plaintiffs, knew these claims by the defendant to be true, frivolous is a very kind word to describe their attempts at censorship through the legal system.)
Lesson: Try going for the Best Dressed List instead of that of the Top Ten Dumb Asses.
The above brings to mind the recent utterings by radio show commentator, Rush Limbaugh, wherein he referred to a female college student cum feminist agenda proponent by rather unsavory terms. The backlash came in the form of loss of sponsors, but rightfully no lawsuit for defamation/libel/slander was filed. The line between censorship and freedom of speech needs not to be hued any grayer.
We need more of what this lawyer was admonished for:
(Credit to www.stus.com)
Our Operatives: A step ahead.
As always, stay safe.
- Libel vs Slander (illegitcode.wordpress.com)
- Online Defamation Law | Electronic Frontier Foundation (powersthatbeat.wordpress.com)