Monthly Archives: March 2014

Defamation Win! Average Citizen Beats Boston Herald!

newspaper defamation
A 9 to 5 worker took on the mighty Boston Herald…and won!

Yes, when it comes to slander and libel laws, the United States is, arguably, the most defendant-friendly nation in the world – but that doesn’t mean defamation plaintiffs never win. Just last week, a woman took on the Boston Herald for libel and won!

What Sparked The Defamation Lawsuit & Eventual Plaintiff Win?

Back in 2009, the Boston Herald ran a series of articles written by Jessica Van Sack about alleged corruption in the city’s prison system. Several times, Van Sack mentioned prison guard Joanna Marinova. At least one time, the reporter said law enforcement officials censured Marinova for sleeping with an inmate at the Old Colony Prison.

Jury Comes Back In Favor Of Plaintiff In Defamation Lawsuit

After years of litigation (no, all slander and libel lawsuits do not take that long to rectify), a trial, and a 15-hour deliberation, the jury came back in favor of the plaintiff to the tune of $563,052.

Lawyers for Marinova praised the decision, saying, “The jury’s verdict informs the public that the Herald and its reporter knowingly published false and damaging statements about Ms. Marinova.”

Boston Herald Plans To Appeal Plaintiff Defamation Win

Predictably, the Boston Herald plans to appeal, insisting that their series to be an “excellent” and “important” journalistic endeavor that led “to a Department of Corrections investigation and certain reform measures,” explained a spokesperson for the paper. He continued, “Lawsuits like the one filed here are serious threats not only to the rights of a free and robust press, but to the rights of the citizenry that expects, and depends upon, that free and robust press. The Herald fully expects to ultimately prevail in this matter.”

Contact A Defamation Attorney Today

Defamation has the power to ruin reputations and businesses. And while U.S. State and Federal defamation laws are extremely defendant-friendly, many people do win defamation claims. In rare circumstances, plaintiffs can even win if the defendant told the truth. When it comes to slander and libel litigation, it is all about case-specific details.

If you have been unfairly besmirched – either online or off – and are curious about your legal options, get in touch with Kelly / Warner Law. Our team of slander and libel lawyers has handled all manners of defamation lawsuits – and our track record gives us bragging points.

Online Review Defamation Case: Venue v. Patron

social media privacy in 2013
Appeals Court Overturns Defamation Lawsuit Dismissal

Another “one to watch” online review defamation case has hit headlines. An outdoor wedding venue in Oregon is suing a California resident over a terrible testimonial on Google Reviews. The presiding judge denied the defense’s motion to dismiss, deeming that statements of fact were made and that plaintiff has the right to move forward with the suit.

How This Online Review Defamation Suit Began

Our tale of online review defamation woe began in 2011. That year, friends of Christopher Liles got married at a venue called Dancing Deer Mountain. Apparently, good times were not had by Liles – and he blamed it on the establishment’s owner, Carol Neumann. “Disaster!!!!!” griped the unimpressed wedding guest. He also accused the owners of being “two faced” and “rude,” and quipped, “[the bridal suite was a] “tool shed that was painted pretty, but a tool shed all the same.”

According to Neumann, the venue suffered a severe reversal of fortune from the day the negative review hit the Internet. Instead of doing nothing, Neumann decided to file an online review defamation lawsuit.

Appeals Court Overturns Online Review Defamation Ruling; Advantage Plaintiff

At first, a lower court judge sided with the defendant and dismissed the case, citing anti-SLAPP statutes. But Neumann appealed – and low and behold, the Oregon Court of Appeals overturned the district court decision.

As for the defendant, his lawyer says his client is simply hyperbolic and was only expressing his strong opinion on Google Reviews.

An appeals judge, however, overturned the lower court’s decision. The judges ruled that the Josephs should be allowed to continue with case because the paper made factual statements that could be proven false.

Speak With An Online Review Defamation Lawyer

Are you entangled in a defamation situation? Are you interested in learning more about your legal options when it comes to online review defamation? If yes, contact Kelly / Warner Law today. We are a top-rated firm that has helped countless business owners with online libel. Reach out today to learn more about your legal options.

Art Defamation: Private Business v. Met Over King David

King David from the MET collection. Image source:

Quick, someone message Ariadne Oliver; a case of art defamation intrigue is afoot on the island of Manhattan!

A discreet New York business is going toe-to-defamation-toe with the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The always important issue of provenance anchors this art libel action, and the also-ran stands to suffer a significant vicissitude.

Two Busts of King David Lead To An Art Defamation Motion

According to reports, both the MET and Latipac Inc. claim possession of a 12th century limestone bust of King David. Originally, according to the MET, the bust graced an entry way in the French cathedral of Notre Dame — until Jacobin-leaning revolutionaries raided the sanctuary to rid it of any dynastic iconography. King David’s nose is missing, which is said to have happened when being torn from the church facade.

MET Refuses To Confer Provenance On Object D’Art

So why is Latipac Inc. filing an art defamation lawsuit? Well, specialists at the MET aren’t willing to concede that two King David busts exist – and the museum also owns a sculpture identical to the Latipac sculpture. Could two busts exist? Sure, why not. Is it likely? Egh…probably not. Interestingly, however, the Cathedral de Notre Dame’s website says that construction on the west façade did not begin until 1200; however, the MET dates the bust back to 1145.

Addressing Provenance Problems Via An Art Defamation Legal Action

The uncertain authenticity of the sculptures presents a huge problem for both parties. For the MET, a counterfeit item would undoubtedly invite a loud whisper campaign in the art world, and by default, call in to question the quality of the museum’s entire collection. Galleries and Michelin-starred restaurants from New York to Miami, London to Barcelona, would be abuzz. On the other hand, if Latipac’s bust is deemed fake, the company would not be able to sell it for a hefty sum.

In an attempt to mitigate future art disparagement, Latipac took legal action. The company filed a motion for declaratory injunctive relief in preparation to defend itself from future “slander of title” and “product disparagement”.

We’ll be keeping an eye on this art defamation situation. If you want to keep abreast of the latest slander and libel news, sign up for our newsletter. If you want to speak with an art defamation attorney about a situation, we invite you to contact us.

The Week In Defamation: Newspapers In Hot Water, Filmmaker Off The Hook, Convict Given The Go-Ahead & More!

What was the big defamation news this week? Read below to find out!

Documentarian Wins Defamation Lawsuit Filed By One Of Her Subjects

documentary defamation“Queen of Versailles” documentarian Lauren Greenfield successfully fended off a defamation lawsuit filed by the focus of the movie, David Siegel. The Siegels took umbrage with promotional marketing materials for the film. In the end, however, Greenfield emerged victorious and the Siegel’s must pay $750,000 for Greenfield’s attorneys.

Advantage, Dr. Phil In Slander Suit

dr. phil defamation lawsuitFor several years, America’s on-air psychologist, Dr. Phil, has been entangled in a complicated slander suit filed by two brothers involved in his Natalee Holloway investigation. This week, a judge deemed one of the brothers a “limited-purpose public figure,” which means he has to meet a higher standard of proof in the case – the standard of actual malice. This is a good turn of events for defendant Dr. Phil.


Ex-UCLA Athlete Given Thumbs Up To Move Forward With Defamation Lawsuit Against Sport’s Illustrated

reeves-nelson-defamationOn appeal, a panel of judges gave Reeves Nelson permission to move forward with lawsuit against Sport’s Illustrated. A lower court had previously dismissed his claim, but the higher court disagreed and waved it through, reasoning that Reeves may be able to prove defamation.

Belieber Posse Member Stepping In To The Libel Ring

Belieber DefamationLooks like a female friend of the Canadian Terror (a.k.a., Justin Bieber), Chantel Jeffries, is jumping in to the legal mosh-pit with her buddy – on her own accord. Bieber’s passenger the night of his Miami drag racing incident is suing the New York Daily News for reporting that she was arrested 5 times. Jeffries filing lambasts the newspaper for not “reasonably [verifying] the truth”. Now, if Chantel was only arrested 4 times, and that is why she’s saying “5” is a “false statement of fact”, she probably won’t get very far because the paper can claim that their reporting was “substantially true”.

Jude Gives Convict Kennedy Cousin Thumbs Up To Sue Nancy Grace For Defamation

nancy grace defamationIn the coming months, Headline News’ favorite daughter, Nancy Grace, will be going head-to-head with a Kennedy Clan cousin – the one who’s been behind bars for many years. That’s right, Michael Skakel was given the thumbs up to move forward with a slander lawsuit against the crime reporter over statements she made on air regarding his murder trial. In 2000, a jury convicted Skakel of murdering Martha Moxly. Recently, however, Skakel was granted another trial. The Grace battle is related to the new trial, or, more precisely, jury selection at the next trial.

Australia’s First Twibel Verdict Handed Down

australia twitter defamation verdictThis week, the verdict in Australia’s first Twibel (Twitter libel) case came back. A former high school student was found responsible for defaming a teacher who’d taken over his father’s job as the head of the school’s music department. The judge and jury felt the defendant’s defense of truth was “spurious” and sided with the plaintiff.

Bag Men Given The Go Ahead In Libel Suit Against The New York Post

newspaper defamationA judge waved through the defamation lawsuit being brought by the two guys whom the New York Post plastered on their front page and donned “Bag Men” during the Boston Marathon bombing. The pair filed a defamation lawsuit against the paper soon after the incident, and the media outlet tried to get it dismissed by arguing that since the men’s names were never published, it wasn’t libel. But, in the words of the judge’s opinion, “The court is not persuaded” by the paper’s pleading. So, it’s off to a jury it goes – if it’s not settled first.

Do you need a defamation attorney? Contact Kelly / Warner Law today.