Construction company owner Joseph Radcliff hit the online defamation lawsuit jackpot. A jury of his peers ordered State Farm Insurance to pay a whopping $14.5M in damages for “irrevocably” damaging Radcliff’s company’s reputation. Cha-ching.
State Farm Insurance v. Construction Company: The Defamation Lawsuit Catalyst
In 2006, Indiana suffered a season of several horrible hail storms. When the falling ice-water settled, local insurance companies continued to get pelted with claims. During this time, State Farm Insurance accused contractor Radcliff of allegedly perpetrating fraud and violating the RICO Act.
Investigators at State Farm accused Radcliff and crew of intentionally damaging roofs to increase payouts. In 2008, after some legal jockeying, Radcliff was arrested on 14 counts of corruption, fraud and criminal mischief.
CPM Construction Earns an Unfavorable Online Reputation
Soon after Radcliff’s arrest, the Internet bad-mouthing began. A quick Google-search for both “Joseph Radcliff” and “CPM Construction” produced dozens of negative online reviews and comments. Radcliff’s business dropped off dramatically; he eventually dismantled the company.
Several months later, a Marion County prosecutor dismissed the charges against Radcliff, citing lack of evidence. But the damage was already done.
What Plaintiffs Must Prove In An Online Defamation Lawsuit
To win an online defamation lawsuit, plaintiffs must prove several things. Most importantly, defamation plaintiffs must prove how the defamatory statement directly affected their financial well-beings. And in some cases, claimants must show actual malice, meaning the plaintiff must convince a judge or jury that the defendant knowingly spread lies with the intent to harm.
Radcliff Emerges Victorious in Online Defamation Lawsuit
Due to strict standards, defamation is notoriously difficult to prove. Radcliff’s lawyers, however, came through for their client. The jury ruled in favor of Radcliff and ordered State Farm to pay $14.5 million dollars.
State Farm has remained taciturn on the edict, indicating they will “weigh their options” in the wake of the ruling. “We believe the evidence supported the actions we took and the causes of the actions we filed,” began a statement by the insurance corporation, “State Farm does not believe the verdict is supported by facts or the law.”
Are You A Victim of Online Defamation? Curious If You Can Get Content Removed From The Internet?
Are you the victim of online defamation? Experienced online defamation attorney Aaron Kelly can help. He has successfully argued dozens of online defamation lawsuits and has single-handedly saved the Web reputations of individuals and companies around the world.