Court Dismisses Lawsuit Filed Against Blogger For Criticizing Company

from the slapp-this dept

We’ve seen so many cases recently of companies trying to shut down negative criticism online by suing critics, it’s nice to point out a case where those cases get shot down by the courts. Eric Goldman has the details on how a court has thrown out the lawsuit filed by BidZirk, one of many, many companies that will sell your stuff on eBay for you, against a blogger for criticizing BidZirk’s service in a blog post. The lawsuit claimed defamation, privacy invasion and trademark violations — all of which seem like a stretch. If anything, this sounds like a SLAPP situation, where the company isn’t suing because anything wrong was done, but because it just doesn’t like criticism. In this case, the court found no defamation, as the blog post was clearly the guy’s opinion. It found no trademark violation because the guy used the company’s name in the course of reporting on the company, which is perfectly legal. As Goldman notes, the unfortunate part of this story is that a blogger had to spend a year and a half in court dealing with this lawsuit. While it’s great that he eventually won, many bloggers wouldn’t have the time, money or stamina to deal with such lawsuits — which is why they’re likely to keep happening.

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Companies: bidzirk

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Comments on “Court Dismisses Lawsuit Filed Against Blogger For Criticizing Company”

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Danny says:

What a shame...

1. If a company’s approach is not to step to the plate and address the negative critism but to cry lawsuit that speaks very ill of the company and would make me think twice about doing business with them.

2. I agree with comment #2 some serious punishment needs to be handed down to these companies and people that file fraudulent and frivilous lawsuits. Something to the tune of being forced to pay the legal fees of the defendant, paying fines to the court system, and/or when a case is found to be fraudulent instead of throwing it out automatically rule in favor of the defendant and force the plantiff to pay the defendant the amount they were suing for.

* Miss Universe (user link) says:


Let’s remember that the cost to hire an Attorney must still be arranged by the defendant, EVEN IF THE CASE WAS DISMISSED!!

How may thousands of dollars did it take to even get that far. Could it even have gotten to the point of being TENS of THOUSANDS of dollars. Would he have been skilled enough to do this pro-se or get a legal group to contribute their time?

So in the end, the fear of litigation – even frivolous – can have an effect on the average person with no legal training to do a pro-se defense.

How may can afford the thousands of dollars it would take to even terminate a frivolous suit?

Yes, he could sue to get his funds back, but how may Lawyers would take a case like that – and even if they did – they would still get a percentage of the money awarded.

Max Powers at (user link) says:

More help for the little guy

Public Citizen is a legal help site concentrating in free speech cases on the Internet and helping sites pro bono that are being attacked by these companies.

I’m still waiting for my first lawsuit attack due to my opinion criticising what I feel are “scam” companies. I also publish unedited comments from third parties that complain about rip off companies.

Ilena Rosenthal (user link) says:

Barrett Vs Rosenthal SLAPP suit

I was recently a successful defendant in a classic Industry Vs Activist SLAPP suit, now called Barrett Vs Rosenthal.

I have been defending myself against Barrett and his ‘publicists’ in court and in his accompanying smear assaults for over 7 years.

The court is now deciding how much exactly the 3 losing plaintiffs, Stephen Barrett, Christopher Grell, and Terry Polevoy will owe for attorneys fees in the Appeals & Supreme Court of California. They will owe somewhere between $300 and $500,000.

The more they lost in court … the nastier their flacks became in their attacking of me … including hiring private investigators and attempting to highjack my good name and replace it with their loser’s version of who I am and why I speak out on controversial issues such as breast implants.

During the course of this suit, the losing defendants have threatened many others with similar suits … and Terry Polevoy, after his loss in the Supreme Court, is now threatening to sue me again!

This case has been extraordinarly costly to me personally, my cause, my friends and family (also attacked), and I have been forced to defend myself at enormous expense.

On Wikipedia and blogs and usenet … Barrett’s flacks refuse to allow the accurate court account, in their constant attempt to change history.

Best regards,

Obama loves me says:

Cowards, all of you!

What ever happened to confronting a situation head on, mano a mano! Why has this country turned into cowards that have to throw stones from behind a computer screen? And why does the recourse always have to be a lawsuit? Can anyone not just pick up the phone or,heaven forbid, meet face to face to discuss an issue or complaint!?!?!

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