Saturday, November 03, 2007

School District Sues Complaining Community Member

Start a blog, go to jail?

It's not quite that bad, but the Galveston (TX) school district has demanded that a parent remove potentially libelous material from her blog or face a defamation lawsuit.

Tetley received a letter Monday from the district’s law firm demanding she remove what it termed libelous statements and other “legally offensive” statements posted by her or anonymous users, and refrain from allowing such postings in the future. If she refuses, the district plans to sue her, the demand letter states.

Ah, but there's an issue:

One legal expert said the district’s move to sue Tetley is rare and unlawful. Under the 1964 Supreme Court case New York Times v. Sullivan, government entities cannot sue for libel — any court would toss out the “threatening” suit as being inconsistent with U.S. law, said Sandra Baron, executive director of New-York based Media Law Resource Center. She called the district’s potential lawsuit an intimidation tactic and a waste of taxpayer dollars.

It'll be interesting to see if the blogger folds, and if she doesn't, how the situation goes from there.

1 comment:

Ellen K said...

I will defend an individual's right to an opinion even when it differs from my own. But quite honestly, my name is nowhere on either of my blogs for fear of retaliation should a parent or administrator see my name attached. I have already suffered from having letters to the editor published. And frankly, I don't see that type of scrutiny going away any time soon.