Law Librarian Blog reports: “Horizon Group Management, of Chicago, who filed a libel lawsuit against a former tenant who tweeted ‘Who said sleeping in a moldy apartment was bad for you? Horizon realty thinks it’s okay.'” The blog post has a pointer to the complaint, and a news story.
Libel law generally speaking applies equally to newspapers, blog posts, Twitter, and pretty much any other written medium. And the important medium distinction — that under 47 U.S.C. § 230, online services aren’t liable for things posted by their users, while offline institutions such as newspapers and even bookstores potentially are, especially if they are notified that the material is libelous — doesn’t apply here, since the lawsuit is against the author, not against Twitter. Still, this struck me as worth noting, since it’s one of the first Twitter libel lawsuits I’ve heard of. Many thanks to Vicki Steiner for the pointer.
UPDATE: I should note that, as this Chicago Breaking News post points out,
In March a Texas-based fashion designer sued Courtney Love, the wife of the late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, claiming Love defamed her on Twitter.
The suit alleged Love called Dawn Simorangkir a “nasty lying hosebag thief,” said she was a drug addict and a prostitute and accused her of stealing thousands of dollars.
Also, as the Chicago Breaking News post points out — and as followers of cyberspace libel law (and even libel law more generally) have long known — such lawsuits tend to be pretty bad for the plaintiffs even if the plaintiffs are in the right, since they vastly increase the audience for the original libel.