After a towing company hauled Justin Kurtz’s car from his apartment complex parking lot, despite his permit to park there, Mr. Kurtz, 21, a college student in Kalamazoo, Mich., went to the Internet for revenge.
Outraged at having to pay $118 to get his car back, Mr. Kurtz created a Facebook page called “Kalamazoo Residents against T&J Towing.” Within two days, 800 people had joined the group, some posting comments about their own maddening experiences with the company.
T&J filed a defamation suit against Mr. Kurtz, claiming the site was hurting business and seeking $750,000 in damages.
Web sites like Facebook, Twitter and Yelp have given individuals a global platform on which to air their grievances with companies. But legal experts say the soaring popularity of such sites has also given rise to more cases like Mr. Kurtz’s, in which a business sues an individual for posting critical comments online.
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They have the right to tell whoever they want about thier experience with the Co., even a billion strangers online. If the Cos don't like it, they should start treating the customers right.
I posted an essay a few years ago concerning my local sheriff running extortion and racketeering operations for a local debt collector. I blasted the useless slug of a criminal sheriff and the disbarred attorney who owned the debt agency. I was hoping to have charges brought against me but alas the publicity might have brought their criminal empire to the ground.
SLAPP suits are a problem, as they tend to be nuisance suits, tying up the court system when there's real injustice that must get in line behind the frivolity. They also can intimidate people into abdicating their rights to free speech to avoid a long and potentially expensive legal battle.
Though from my non-lawyer perspective, I'd countersue for attorney's fees, any lost wages due to time off work for court appearances, and punitive damages for the pain-in-the-neck factor of having to deal with a groundless lawsuit.
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