Saturday, March 15, 2008

Blogging Lawyer Sued for Defamation

There is an interesting lesson here for bloggers and those who post on blogs. Be careful what you write, since a defamation claim can be brought against you for your postings.

The links will take you to the law.com article, and this particular case has a few twists since the blogging lawyer was anonymous when he made the postings, and just so happened to be blogging about a case in which he was involved as a party's in-house counsel.

But the facts of the case apply to blogging in general. The attorney said in his blog that plaintiff's counsel conspired with the federal district court clerk to change the date of a filing by a day, in order to give subject matter jurisdiction. It may sound petty, but that is a serious allegation against the attorneys involved and the clerk.

The attorneys sued, and they sued the blogger, and his party-employer, Cisco.

Obviously we don't know what happened, but the point isn't so much as whether there was a conspiracy, but the impact of making potentially defamatory statements on the Internet. There is a thought out there that you can't be sued for what you say in a blog or in a comment, and that posting anonymously will protect the speaker. Neither is true. The law applies to the Internet, just like everywhere else. And while this anonymous blogger outed himself, any attorney worth his salt, armed with a few subpoenas, can track a web posting back to its author - or at least the computer that the posting was made from.

Forewarned is forearmed.

Law.com - Patent Attorneys Sue Cisco and Blogging In-House Lawyer for Defamation
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