Blogger Sued For Defamation Over Huffington Post Article
Mike Stark, a progressive blogger and activist, doesn’t think much of Robert Murray, of the Murray Energy Corporation. This past September, Stark wrote a Huffington Post article about Murray. Let’s just say it wasn’t what you’d call flattering.
After publication, the usual partisan battle ensued between the two would-be pundits: Greedy Billionaire Fascist! Intolerable Hypocritical Socialist! Yada, yada, yada…then, a libel lawsuit. Murray decided to sue Stark.
Paraphrase: “Call Me An Extremist, And I’ll Sue Your Blogging Butt For Defamation”
In the claim, Murray outlined his gripes with Mike Stark’s article. The outspoken businessman took particular umbrage with the use of the word “extremist,” insisting that Huffington Post readers would interpret the label as an “assertion of fact, not opinion.”
Enter The ACLU, Sometimes Defender Of Sued Bloggers
Upon hearing of the case, The American Civil Liberties Union and David Halperin, Esq. decided to represent Stark. On their client’s behalf, the attorneys filed a dismissal motion on November 1.
Their argument was straightforward: Stark didn’t defame; he was exercising his free speech rights as a journalist. The motion also argues that since Stark’s piece concerned “public policy issues relating to Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli” it shouldn’t be deemed defamatory, but instead fair comment on political activity.
The defense team punctuated their argument with a reminder: “The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly protected speech that a reasonable reader would recognize as spirited argument or opinion, rather than assertions of fact.”
Do You Want To Speak To A Lawyer Who Deals With Blogger Libel? We Can Help You Sue A Blogger Or Defend A Blogger Sued For Defamation.
We don’t see this case going the distance. It seems more of a public relations litigation move than a viable defamation lawsuit — but hey, you never know.
Are you curious if you have a solid defamation case or not? Get in touch with defamation attorney Aaron Kelly for a consultation.