Sued Over Twitter Message? Can You Defame Someone In 140 Characters Or Less?

from the sue-first,-ask-questions-later dept

Tom writes in to alert us that a woman in Chicago has been sued for defamation by the company that manages her apartment over a Twitter message. The message she put on Twitter read:
"Who said sleeping in a moldy apartment was bad for you? Horizon realty thinks it's okay."
And, rather than address a concern of one of their residents, the company brought out the lawyers, and sued for over $50,000. A little investigation reveals that the woman had all of 20 followers, which makes you question just how much actual damage was done by this message.

Still, for my money, the best single paragraph/statement about Horizon Group Management has to be the following one, in the Chicago Sun-Times, quoting Jeffrey Michael, speaking for Horizon Group (and a member of the family that runs it):
"We're a sue first, ask questions later kind of an organization," he said, noting that the company manages 1,500 apartments in Chicago and has a good reputation it wants to preserve.
I'm curious as to how being a "sue first, ask questions later kind of organization" meshes with having "a good reputation it wants to preserve." I'd argue that (1) suing a tenant of a meaningless tweet (and drawing much more attention to the complaint) and (2) claiming that you're a "sue first, ask questions later kind of organization" in the national media are going to do a hell of a lot more damage to any "good reputation" (if it existed in the first place) than some random woman with 20 followers bitching about mold in her apartment.

Filed Under: apartment, defamation, lawsuits, twitter
Companies: horizon group management, twitter


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  1. identicon
    Deborah Calvert, 29 Jul 2009 @ 11:20pm

    can't defame Sun Healthcare nursing homes

    I have records to back up my claim, therefore cannot be sued for liable:

    Horizon and MOLD? Sun Healthcare Group Inc used broken equipment in a nursing home which led to the death of my mother and other's I'd witnessed, according to their Medical Director, Dr Scott Stoney, who declared so in 2006. Calif State Attorney General even had an existing injunction against them for killing patients while lacking a HVAC system in their Burlingame, Calif facility, yet when they violated this injunction and we notified the Dept of Justice they turned a blind eye. When it killed my mother, the deputy Attorney General Calude Vanderwold apologized to me. So did the CEO of Sun Healthcare through his regional employee Julie Campbell, who heads up their PAC now and told me she was a former girlfriend of his.
    What's worse -mold or death?
    This is not rocket science.
    Deborah Calvert,
    Newport Beach, Calif
    former asst to Buzz Aldrin

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