Blogger not eligible for media shield law, hit with $2.5M judgment
An Oregon judge has dominated that a Montana blogger isn’t eligible for the felony protections afforded to newshounds, letting stand a $2.five million defamation verdict.
The blogger, a Montana female named Crystal Cox, had come to be a thorn within the facet of a lawyer named Kevin Padrick. Padrick is the most important of a company named Obsidian Finance institution. Cox patterns herself an “investigative blogger,” and has created numerous web sites with names like “obsidianfinancesucks.com,” “bankruptcytrusteefraud.com,” and “oregonshyster.com,” wherein she accused Padrick and Obsidian of misconduct in their managing of a bankruptcy case.
In January, Padrick filed a defamation lawsuit against Cox, charging that her accusations have been false and inquiring for $10 million in damages. Final month, a jury observed Cox responsible and presented Padrick and his company $2.five million.
Oregon regulation offers unique legal protections against defamation complaints to reporters associated with traditional media retailers. Such courses are immune from defamation fits until the defamed person first requests a retraction. Reporters at recognized media stores also are included from revealing personal sources. Cox argued that she become eligible for protection under both provisions and requested the judge to set apart the verdict.
however, judge Marco Hernandez disagreed. “Even though defendant is a self-proclaimed ‘investigative blogger’ and defines herself as ‘media,’ the document fails to reveal that she is affiliated with any newspaper, magazine, periodical, ebook, pamphlet, information provider, wire service, information or characteristic syndicate, broadcast station or network, or cable television device,” the decide wrote. “Thus, she isn’t entitled to the protections of the [Oregon journalist shield] regulation.”
That result was reputedly dictated with the aid of the text of the Oregon shield statute, which singles out those particular media technology for prison protection. However later in the selection, Hernandez taken into consideration whether the defamation lawsuit ran afoul of the first change more typically. First modification regulation units a high threshold for defamation instances in opposition to newshounds.
however, Hernandez over again dominated that Cox became no longer a journalist. He cited the shortage of “(1) any education in journalism; (2) any credentials or proof of any affiliation with any identified information entity; (three) evidence of adherence to journalistic standards consisting of editing, reality-checking, or disclosures of conflicts of hobby; (4) maintaining notes of conversations and interviews conducted; (five) mutual knowledge or agreement of confidentiality among the defendant and his/her resources; (6) creation of an unbiased product as opposed to assembling writings and postings of others; or (7) contacting ‘the other side’ to get both aspects of a story.”
The claim that Cox isn’t a journalist is made practicable via a uncovered via Kashmir Hill at Forbes (Disclosure: I’m also a blogger at Forbes).
Padrick provided Hill with a replica of a Cox had sent to Obsidian Finance some days after the defamation lawsuit became filed. It provided Obsidian “PR services and seek Engine management services beginning at $2500 a month” to “shield on-line reputations.” whilst she would not say so explicitly, the implication appears to be that if Obsidian forks over some cash, Cox will make websites like “obsidianfinancesucks.com” go away.
We e-e-mailed Cox in search of remark, however we’ve got yet to get a response.