Jury awards $11.3M over defamatory Internet posts

A Florida woman has been awarded $11.3 million in a defamation lawsuit against a Louisiana woman who posted messages on the Internet accusing her of being a “crook,” a “con artist” and a “fraud.” —Laura ParkerJury awards $11.3M over defamatory Internet posts (USA Today)

I haven’t looked into the details of this case, here is a big difference between saying “I was very disappointed with the results of doing business with Sally Jones of company X, and I’ll be taking my business elsewhere,” and saying “Sally Jones is incompetent — nobody should do business with her.”

The amount of the award is ridiculously high, but since the defendant doesn’t have that kind of money, it’s really just symbolic.

Just because you have the power to use the internet to say anything you want does not mean that you should. An American’s constitutional right to the freedom of speech does not promise to protect a speaker from the consequences of choosing to exercise that right.