Bloggers’ Defamation Liability Not Dismissed–Saadi v. Maroun
By Eric Goldman
Saadi v. Maroun, 2008 WL 4194824 (M.D. Fla. Sept. 9, 2008). One of the complaints (doesn’t everyone know that just blacking out data in a PDF doesn’t prevent people from learning the info???). The opposition to the motion to dismiss. There is some evidence that this ruling is part of a broader litigation frenzy–I found 4 separate Justia pages involving these litigants in 4 different jurisdictions other than MDFla (1, 2, 3, 4).
This case reminds us that we as bloggers own our words, and we face the same type of publisher liability as other publishers.
The dispute involves members of the Lebanese-American community. For unspecified reasons (this article provides one possible explanation), the members had a falling out, and some of them allegedly posted negative comments about the plaintiff at biggestloosers.blogspot.com (now gone from the web and archive.org) and other sites. The bloggers tried to defend that the claims were opinion, not fact. The court rejects this argument, saying that “statements that Plaintiff is a mentally unstable stalker, a criminal, and that he has received gifts paid for with money stolen from the Lebanese government, as well as statements that suggest that Plaintiff falsely purports to have a law degree and has committed statutory rape” are all factual claims–especially when the blog screams “OUR STORIES ARE TRUE.”