Blogger Learns the Truth Doesn't Always Set You Free

By Brian Lynch When is a defamation lawsuit not a defamation lawsuit? A Minneapolis blogger has learned the answer; when the plaintiff sues for "tortious interference". The suit stems from blogger John Hoff's postings about Jerry Moore, a former University of Minnesota employee whom Hoff noted was involved with a lawsuit concerning mortgage fraud. Moore was fired from his position after the university discovered his involvement in the mortgage case. Moore sued Hoff for libel and tortious interference with his employment. The libel claim was rejected by the jury as Hoff was able to demonstrate his statements where true, but Moore was awarded $60,000 in damages for the tortious interference claim. Hoff sought to have the verdict set aside but the court denied the motion last week. Should the tortious interference verdict have survived? The Society of Professional Journalist filed an amicus brief arguing that when a claim is essentially a defamation claim, the court should apply the law of defamation even if the plaintiff labels his claim one for tortious interference. Additionally UCLA Law professor Eugen Volokh blogged about the case and noted "people are constitutionally entitled to speak the truth about others, even with the goal of trying to get them fired." Tech Dirt also reports the concept of truth as an absolute defense in defamation cases has been eroding away in recent years. The defendant's attorney has indicated an appeal is likely. Photo "hear, say, see no evil " courtesy of Flickr user don.lee, licensed under CC BY 2.0. Share this: Twitter Like this: Be the first to like this post.

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