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. icon
    Deborah Calvert (profile), 12 Aug 2009 @ 5:18pm

    Sun Healthcare Nursing Homes

    Sun Healthcare Group practices elder abuse and manslaughter for profit, I will testify because they were responsible for my mother's death and four others in 2003. The state condemned their HVAC (like living in a 3rd world country here). They had broken suction equip. that caused another patient in his 50's to die from aspiration pneumonia. Broken thermometers missed my mother's fevers after having recurring urinary tract infections for ten months because they didn't staff according to law so there weren't enough help to change diapers. That mis-use of antibiotics made her more vulnerable to the MRSA she caught from the facility. With their lack of ventilation led her on a downward spiral unable to swallow for the final nine months of her life, repiratory problems, renal failures, lack of nutrition, that was a horror to watch. The CEO of SUN sent his employee Julie Campbell to apologize for him. 2 yrs later I sued Sun, knowing their willful misconduct made me eligible for treble damages. But the powers that be prevented that triple compensation. After major surgery at UCLA to remove a pancreatic tumor that was a miracle I survived, my attorney, apparently working for SUN, Daniel Leipold, rushed me into mediation while still recovering, lied to me about the law, coerced, intimidated and threatened me into signing an agreement for damages based solely on SUN’s fraud. He dropped damages for wrongful death, elder abuse, pain & suffering while I was distracted and ill. Months later when I regained my strength, I sued him for malpractice, he died 2 weeks later. I won that case in 2008.

    SUN can’t bar me for telling my story because I refused to sign a confidentialty agreement after mediaiton -after being told by my attorney that SUN’s CEO was on the phone from his Irvine office with attorneys in the other room and that he would cause me bodily harm and ruin my reputation if I forced this case to trial.

    SUN cheated the taxpayers of the State of Calif out of millions of dollars in fines the State would have fined for my mother’s death and the four other deaths SUN was responsible for that I witnessed during my limited time there. And according to Claude Vanderwold deputy attrny generall this facility was NOT considered in the fine of $2.5 Million in Sept 2005 against Sun for violating the injunction to date. Amazing.

    The Dept of Justice turned a blind eye. The Dept of Health didn’t fine the usual $100,000 for her or any other's death.
    Yet SUN’s own medical director, Dr L Scott Stoney, wrote an opinion SUN responsible for her death and he quit due to SUN’s lack of response.

    Yes, I can testify SUN Healthcare Group Inc, of New Mexico, produces profits at the cost of elder abuse and manslaughter.

    Does this sound like political corruption? Corporate corruption?

    This is not rocket science, Buzz would say.
    Deborah Calvert daughter of the late Evelyn Calvert, Newport Beach, California and former assistant to Buzz Aldrin
    debdeb2080@hotmail.com
    230 Lille Lane #211
    Newport Beach, CA 92663
    949 548-2080

    see Orange County Calif Superior Court Evelyn Calvert v Sun Healthcare Group Inc et al; Richard Matros v Deborah Calvert; and Calvert vs Daniel Leipold
    (CEO requested a restraining order against me for writting SUN (and he as manager) was a slumlord, but Judge Gregory W Jones said NO, she's not dangerous to him or anyone, he's the dangerous one, he killed her mother. She did a whole lot less than I would have done, at least she didn't state that. They are slumlords and she has proven it, certainly she can state it. Freedom of speech, peaceful protest and protected speech. She should file a slapp back lawsuit for his malicious prosecution. And, you just introduced an email she states she doesn't even know what he looks like, how can I ask her to avoid someone she doesn't even know? My attorney said they certainly couldn't expect me to carry around a family pix of the CEO -the man who killed your mother, so you could avoid him!

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