A Chicago apartment leasing and management company (the “Plaintiff”) has sued a former client (the “Defendant”) in defamation for posting a message on Twitter, a social network that allows users to send and read messages (see: news article; statement of claim). Although the Defendant’s Twitter account was followed by no more than 20 people at the time, the Plaintiff alleges that the message was “published throughout the world” and is seeking damages in excess of $50,000. The message is reproduced below:
Who said sleeping in a moldy apartment was bad for you? Horizon [the Plaintiff] thinks it’s okay.
Commentators have been quick to question the sagacity of the Plaintiff’s decision to commence legal proceedings (see: news article). Regardless of where fault lies, this litigation is illustrative of the paradox that plagues defamation actions: plaintiffs, by acting to assert their legal rights and restore their tainted reputations, risk attracting public scrutiny and aggravating the very reputational effect that they sought to avoid.
Update: The suit was dismissed on January 20th, 2010. Read more here.