Court Says That Tweeting Someone Is 'F**king Crazy' Is Not Libelous

from the a-fucking-good-ruling dept

There have been a number of libel cases popping up over the past few years where random insults on Twitter are turned into full blown court cases. Tragically, these cases have picked up the "twibel" name -- a neologism that seems silly and pointless. Still, it's good to see that courts appear to (mostly) be recognizing that random insults shouldn't be considered libelous. Venkat Balasubramani has the details of a recent ruling (where both parties represented themselves!), in which a court recognized that saying on Twitter that someone is "fucking crazy" isn't libelous, especially as part of a "heated" online discussion. I won't get into the details of the case, other than that it involves a horse named Munition, but here's the Court's discussion:
The tweet cannot be read in isolation, but in the context of the entire discussion. In this case, the tweet was made as part of a heated Internet debate about plaintiff’s responsibility for the disappearance of her horse. Furthermore, it cannot be read literally without regard to the way in which a reasonable person would interpret it.

The phrase “Mara Feld . . . is fucking crazy,” when viewed in that context, cannot reasonably be understood to state actual facts about plaintiff’s mental state. It was obviously intended as criticism—that is, as opinion—not as a statement of fact. The complaint therefore cannot base a claim of defamation on that statement
Of course, as Eric Goldman amusingly notes at the end of Venkat's post, "bringing a defamation lawsuit over tweets is almost always fucking crazy," reminding us that it will almost certainly reinforce the association between the phrase and the person who brought the lawsuit, Mara Feld.

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  • identicon
    Trevor, 16 Apr 2014 @ 11:17am

    Well

    Ms. Feld and Ms. Conway are fucking crazy for representing themselves...

    It could have gone horribly, horribly wrong.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 16 Apr 2014 @ 11:22am

    Hold your horses!

    As we say in Portuguese the plaintiff can take her little horse out of the rain.

    Semantics: give up pretensions (take the little horse out of the rain)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    zip, 16 Apr 2014 @ 11:57am

    I'm curious to see if typing in "Mara Feld" in Google will soon have Autocomplete add "is fucking crazy."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Apr 2014 @ 1:22pm

    I wonder if the plaintiff cringed when reading the 'offending phrase' - which was three times in the very brief ruling :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous, 16 Apr 2014 @ 4:44pm

    Mickey Mouse Goes To Court

    Judge: "Mr. Mouse, are you saying you want a divorce from Minnie because she's insane?"
    Mickey: "I didn't say she's insane. I said she's f**king Goofy!"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jimmy, 31 Jan 2015 @ 12:27pm

    name calling

    I guess you can use that name, f*crazy, as much as you want because you can extort the most with it. Or its about the one that needs a name though using that one gives him cause to f* kill people.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    MaraFeld (profile), 23 Oct 2018 @ 5:06pm

    Still searching for Munition

    It is long overdue that I explain what happened to Munition. The problem with the defamation legal articles is that they refer to the Telegram article. Paula J. Owen’s article “Fatal Transactions: Sale of a horse can be a death sentence” gives the impression that Munition was simply lost into the slaughter pipeline. This is not accurate.

    First of all this story suggests the horse was killed which is false. Owen misses the main points. The story of Munition has brought attention to the serious international public safety issue of poisoned food. When Spud Noone brought Munition to the New Holland PA auction he signed paperwork that the horse was drug free for 6 months. However Munition had been treated with Clembuterol, Bute, Banamine, Adequan, and Ulcergaurd. Noone apparently was a regular at New Holland, and appeared with several horses every week.

    The other main flaw in Owen’s article is that it glorifies Matt Clarke. People like Crystal Conway and Matt Clarke are directly involved in thoroughbred breeding. They are part of the race track industry; which carelessly generates tons of unwanted horses.

    I will do my best to tell the story of Munition in chronology, of course it has been many years. Munition went with Noone, to supposedly be a companion horse. Once it was established that Munition was getting along with his companion horse, we would discuss a price. Noone took a wrong turn and ended up at New Holland. Noone is now deceased and poses no further threat to horse owners.

    When Noone did not return my phone calls to confirm that Munition had safely made it to his new home I became concerned. I contacted Clarke and explained what had happened. Clarke found out that Noone had previously swindled 10 horses from an elderly woman. I called the Concord mounted police and they suggested I go to Noone’s property and look for my horse. Clarke said if I found my horse they would come with the trailer. I did not find Munition in Noone’s barn. I filed a police report for Larceny Under False Pretenses. Here was the beginning of a long and ongoing search for Munition. I must thank so many people that have helped me.

    Initially Clarke told me the horse went to New Holland and that you cannot get the horse back from these people. I went to the Canadian border to speak with the Canadian vet about the situation. Although I continued to knock at the door…nobody answered. So I went to the American office and they said if I saw a trailer of horses come through I could look for my horse.

    I went online and posted the horse was stolen. I went to New Holland and a worker told me the horse was sold by Noone to a man named Chuck Beam. Chuck Beam was at the auction that day so I called the police. The policeman questioned Beam and he said the horse was dead and talk to Christy. I found out Beam works for Brian Moore, who sells horses to slaughter at Petite Nation in Canada. I called Petite Nation, to make them aware of the situation, as well as the USDA equivalent in Canada. I found out that Christy Sheidy and Brian Moore had a business relationship. Apparently when Brain Moore buys horses he has two sets. One intended for slaughter, and one intended for Sheidy. Sheidy cries out the truck is coming, save these horses from the kill pen. Christy and Rick Sheidy have since been busted for running a charity scam. There are endless stories online of the mishaps from their organization Another Chance For Horses (AC4H). Interestingly, on the AC4H Facebook webpage they give Noone’s name and phone number as a shipper they recommend.

    Munition was sent to Christy Sheidy, not to slaughter. When Clarke says it was too late, the horse was shipped, he is lying.

    I got a call from a man who was a horse shipper that had seen one of my advertisements for Munition. He said that he overheard a conversation between Christy and Rick Sheidy talking on the telephone about my horse. That the horse was at the quarantine barn and had to be moved because the owner was coming down. He advised me to make a fake name and look to see if my horse was advertised on the AC4H webpage. The shipper told Christy Sheidy that he had called me and she was furious. She said there were three thoroughbreds that day and two went to Deborah Jones and the third she would not give any information. Christy Sheidy had also posted on the Alex Brown site that there were three thoroughbreds, then later posted there were only 2.

    Jones, a supposed detective, was helping me find Munition at that point. I told her that I made up the name Gina Holt to search on the AC4H website. Jones must have told Conway I used that name. I don’t know the relationship between Deborah Jones and Crystal Conway. I never had any interaction with Conway.

    Later Christy Sheidy told Mark O’Brien (my attorney) by email that she had the horse.

    Further, I was put in contact with Melissa Tokus from Charlton MA. Noone had told her that her horse was going to a Children’s farm. Her horse ended up at New Holland. She did not go to the police. AC4H targeted the breeder of this horse and it was saved with reward money. Tokus was supposed to be at Noone’s criminal trial but she did not show up.

    Mark O’Brien witnessed the entire agreement I had with Noone and the prosecutor did not question attorney O’Brien at the trial.

    If Noone had been convicted the authorities may have been able to retrieve my horse from these people.

    When I was on the Alex Brown horse rescue page, I was certain that Christy Sheidy had my horse. All these posts were being deleted. I think Alex Brown was protecting Sheidy. I do not know exactly how Brown and Sheidy are connected.

    I think Clarke was forced to offer a reward. He went on Alex Brown page and posted he was offering a $1000 reward. Suddenly Deborah Jones concludes that the horse is dead. There was no forthcoming evidence. I think Sheidy and Jones split the reward money and continued about business as usual.

    Matt Clarke, Christy Sheidy, and Deborah Jones know where Munition is today. They will say the horse is dead but they are lying. I am still not in a financial position where I could afford to take a horse, and I certainly don’t want to remove Munition from his home. I am curious to know the real story.

    When I saw AC4H advertisements on the Net Posse webpage, I removed my listing. However, I have never stopped searching for the truth.

    Munition is a 16.3 hand, bay, thoroughbred gelding, lip tattoo number G25782.

    Please if you have any information please contact me:

    Mara Feld (maraf1224@yahoo.com) or my attorney Mark O’Brien (justice457@gmail.com).

    Thank You

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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