Traverse Internet Law reports that a South Carolina state court has awarded Scott Brandon $1.8 million in damages for defamation arising out of statements published on a Myrtle Beach based blog. Brandon, who is the head of an ad agency, sued in 2008 claiming that Wizeman was the author of Myrtle Beach Insider and that Wizeman had defamed him by publishing a June 2007 post calling him a “failed lawyer” and criticizing one of his ad agency’s campaigns. Traverse Internet Law reports on significant online defamation cases that lead to monetary judgments.

The $1.8 million award came after Circuit Court Judge Diane S. Goodstein assigned a “special referee” to determine damages and the court official, acting in place of the Judge, recommended an award to Brandon of $800,000 in compensatory damages and $1,000,000 in punitive damages.

Traverse Internet Law continues to see judgments in excess of $1 Million for online defamation and Mr. Dozier’s upcoming release date for the “Google Bomb” book detailing this incredibly complex area of law is set for release September 1, 2009.

Traverse Internet Law reports today that a self styled “free speech advocate” has been ordered to pay a Court judgment of $30,000, and the Ontario Court of Appeal added another $10,000 in legal costs in a decision confirming the award. The defendant had earlier reported that the Appeal Court judges were “snapping and confrontational” during his hearing earlier in the week. At trial, the Judge described the defendant’s defamatory attacks against the lawyer as a “steady diet of diatribe and insults, couched in half-truths and omissions…” and rejected a free speech and fair comment defense. The defendant posted on his “free speech” website that he is $17,500 behind in legal bills, and he is trying to raise money to pay his bills, the judgment, and/or appeal again to the Supreme Court. At Traverse Internet Law we are seeing a pronounced trend among the Courts to view claims of “free speech” with increasing skepticism in an apparent response to the realities of the impact of the veritable tidal wave of false and damaging online personal and business attacks.

Traverse Internet Law has learned of an award for $35,000 in the UK against an individual who posted a false profile on Facebook about the plaintiff. The posting was reportedly in retaliation for past business disagreements and the profile included accurate information to lend it credibility, and also set forth libelous, inaccurate, misleading, and damaging information. In reviewing the award, Traverse Internet Law notes that the award was based upon defamation and privacy violations, and given the expansive view of personal jurisdiction in the UK in defamation cases, it is important to note that someone posting defamatory statements in the US could be subject to defending a lawsuit in the UK.

Traverse Internet Law deals with a lot of online defamation for clients around the country and world and we monitor legal decisions. A recent report is revealing in terms of the liability associated with the publication of false information online. Richard Warman, a lawyer, was recently awarded a judgment of $50,000 and then the Judge issued an injunction requiring the defendant to issue a retraction, remove comments from the web, and publish nothing that is defamatory in the future. Mr. Warman, a well known attorney trying to eradicate Internet hatred, was the subject of a “mobosphere attack” resulting from comments published by the defendant and others taking his lead. At Traverse Internet Law we take particular notice of the basis for the monetary judgment, which included the Judge’s conclusion that the comments of the defendant “by their volume and wide dissemination” exposed the Plaintiff to “hatred, contempt and ridicule”, which sounds an awful lot like a “mobosphere attack”.

Traverse Internet Law is involved extensively in the law of online defamation. This case serves as a “worst case scenario” warning for those who elect to use the web as a vehicle of attack. Sue Scheff and her small business obtained a jury award of over $6 Million in compensatory and $5 in punitive damages, and the District Court of Appeal for the State of Florida confirmed and upheld the jury award and judgment against a lady who had allegedly undertaken defamatory attacks against the plaintiff. Traverse Internet Law counsels parties on both sides of these types of disputes, and this is the largest judgment we have seen for online defamation.