Twitter Defamation Lawsuit Dismissed

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Last year, Amanda Bonnen tweeted about the moldy conditions in her apartment in Chicago. On May 12, 2009 she wrote:

@JessB123 You should just come anyway. Who said sleeping in a moldy apartment was bad for you?  Horizon realty thinks it’s ok.

Even though she had only 20 followers, her landlord, horizon Realty Group, an apartment leasing and management company in Chicago, filed a defamation claim against her, claiming that as a result of her post, the company”has been greatly injured in its reputation as a landlord in Chicago.” The complaint was dismissed with prejudice earlier this week.

The fact that the complaint was dismissed doesn’t mean that a Twitter tweet (or a Facebook or MySpave posting, or a blog posting, or a YouTube video) can’t be defamatory. What it means is that this tweet wasn’t. But another tweet could be. And that means paying attention to what you post (and about what is posted about you), because companies and individuals do find out what is posted and do take action.

We wrote in our December newsletter about how important it is for a company to have social media policies to best attempt to control what employees might say about the company online (there are also links to some examples of postings and videos by disgruntled, and now terminated, employees). It is also a good idea to monitor what is said about your company and take action, whether that might be by responding to a customer complaint, terminating an employee or filing a defamation complaint, if the facts warrant.


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