Defamation Hotlinks: 2/02/09-2/06/09

I’ve been super busy this past week, which is why this batch of defamation hotlinks comes a bit late:

  1. Lutfi v. Spears – The saga never ends, does it?  Sam Lutfi is suing Britney Spears’s parents for defamation and libel, among other causes of action.  Most of the alleged defamatory statements come from a book written by Lynn Spears, called "Through the Storm: A Real Story of Fame and Family in a Tabloid World."  Most of the alleged libelous statements if proved false would definitely expose Lutfi to hatred, contempt, obloquy, etc.  However, some of the allegations contained in the cause of action for defamation are likely to fail because they are arguably statements of opinion.  For example, Lutfi alleges:  "Lynn pejoratively refers to Lutfi as among other things, "fake", "Svengail", "a predator", "a gatekeeper" and "the General".  Most of these statement appear to be nothing more than epithets, which of course, are not actionable defamation. Whether a statement is actionable is a question of law for the court to decide. I expect defense counsel will file an anti-SLAPP motion and challenge some of the statements as mere unactionable opinions.  I suspect that they will argue as well that Lutfi is a limited purpose public figure due to reports of his relationship with Britney Spears and reports of his relationship with the paparazzi.  I wonder if Lutfi’s attorney will be able to produce evidence of actual malice.  I eagerly look forward to what happens next in this case.
  2. Juicy Campus Shuttered – Defamation lawyers around the nation are saddened by the fact that Juicy Campus closed its doors last Thursday.  Juicy Campus was a college tabloid site that allowed students to post anonymous comments about other students.
  3. Is It Defamation If A Commenter Libels The Owner Of The Blog In That Blog’s Comments? – This is an extremely intriguing question, and one to which a UK court said, "no."  The court held that since the blogger had the ability to moderate the comments and published the comment anyway, he essentially consented to the libel.  The court’s analysis is correct in my view. The blogger could have just deleted the comment and moved on with his life.  Now, had the blogger published a comment that was disparaging of another person, that would be a different story, and we’d be talking about section 230 immunity.

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