Other Major Internet Libel Cases (continued)
Suarez Corp. Industries v. Meeks
Civil Action No. 267513 (Ct. of Common Pleas, Cuyahoga Cty, Ohio)
The plaintiff sued an Internet newsletter-writer for defamation over an edition of the newsletter that had called a sales pitch offered on the Internet by the plaintiff company a "scam," and had gone on to label the company's president as "a slick direct-mail baron." The case was settled before the court issued any substantive opinion, based upon an argreement that the defendant notify the plaintiff at least 48 hours in advance of publishing anything about the plaintiff.
It's in the Cards, Inc. v. Fuschetto
1995 Wisc. App. LEXIS 489 (Apr 11, 1995)
The plaintiff sued Fuschetto for defamation, negligence, and undue interference with business relations after an on-line argument between the two resulted in an allegedgly defamatory posting on a national bulletin board service.
The defendant's argument was based upon a Wisconsin statue that requires that a potential plaintiff allegedly defamed in a magazine, newspaper, or periodical must, prior to filing suit, demand a published retraction by the publication. The Wisconsin court found that a BBS is not a periodical, because posting a BBS note "is a random communication of computerized messages analagous to posting a written notice on a public bulletin board, not a publication that appears at regular intervals" and thus ruled in the plaintiff's favor.
Blumenthal v. Drudge
The newest and perhaps most visible claim of "cyberspace libel", Blumenthal v. Drudge has yet to see trial. Internet columnist Matt Drudge, a fixture of America Online and his own news/gossip website ( The Drudge Report), reported that Sidney Blumenthal, and advisor to President Clinton, beat his wife. Blumenthal then summarily filed a $30 million libel lawsuit against Drudge, who is very publicly defending himself. This promises to be a landmark case primarily because of the high visibility of the participants and the amount of coverage it is likely to receive (especially considering Drudge runs a "news" site). More information on this case can be found by going to our Reference section.