New Lawsuit Over Blogging–Steinbuch v. Cutler
Steinbuch v. Cutler (D.C. D.C. complaint filed May 18, 2005). Interesting and risqué lawsuit for invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress (warning: the complaint is not 100% office-safe). Jessica Cutler ran a blog under the name “Washingtonienne.” In the blog, she provided very specific details about her simultaneous sexual relationships with six different men. In particular, she identified the plaintiff by his initials “RS,” although one time she also referred to “Rob.” She also provided lots of specific details about each person and made a number of disclosures of very personal facts about RS.
Some observations about the lawsuit:
* This is not the first blog-related lawsuit, but as an early case, it has the potential to reinforce that blogs are just another publication medium that can create legal liability.
* The fact that she attempted to blog using pseudonyms may not save her from legal liability. This has direct implications for anyone who thinks it’s a good idea to blog about work situations by revealing details selectively (hint to summer associates tempted to blog about their firms—this means you!).
* This case has all the marks of a messy and titillating lawsuit, so I’m sure we’ll hear a lot more about it because it combines new technological issues with age-old voyeuristic interests in sex.
(Thanks to Daniel Solove at Prawfsblawg for the tip)