Saturday, July 26, 2008

Libel? Not Really

Libel is a malicious, false, and defamatory claim that one implies to be factual. Truth is pretty much an absolute defense for it, but even if one makes a mistake, it is still hard to prove, especially if it is expressed as one’s opinion.

For instance, saying one likes or dislikes something at Holy Cross School is your personal opinion. It is a fact that you have that opinion….it could be wrong or misguided, but we have that right in this country.

All of the events that are listed are ones that I am confidant occurred. Reporting on them is not libel, because they did in fact happen. One’s opinion of why it occurred, the impact, or the stupidity of it is back to an individual opinion.

Saying, for example, that the Internet filtering is broken is not libel. Saying that it has been broken all year despite her statements to the contrary is not libel. Saying that this hurts her credibility is not libel, either.

If I say she selectively strong-armed people after the meeting in February (and I certainly could have been one of those), that is not libel. One could argue it was simply to “discuss” things, but it is my opinion based on what I heard was said, and is protected speech.

Now…personal information, even if true and provable is a bit different, which is why I have warned against this, and will prevent it, if I see it. That is one of the reasons I put the email address out there…if you see something you think is wrong or personal in nature, email me at I don’t have time to always read every comment, and I am providing a means to correct any inaccuracies, so it puts me in a much better legal standing if some idiot posts something out of bounds.

And, as usual, thanks for caring.


Anonymous said...

Better take a look at case law Quiz..It is easily "googled"...

Anonymous said...

In an action for defamation, the plaintiff must prove:

1. publication of the defamatory statement; AND

2. the defamation refers to the plaintiff; AND

3. the statement was defamatory

All three conditions are met with at least one of the statements published here on your blog.

Anonymous said...

Quiz, I've tried..Now I'll just sit back and watch..Good Luck

Anonymous said...

This from your own site:

I got a response from Newzap warning that one could be sued for criticising a figure who was not a public official. They said they had pulled it ,in part, to protect the commentors.
I followed up with an email asking if anyone had actually threatened legal action. I will let you know if I recieved a response.

-Good Luck JTK

Anonymous said...

Quiz, By not using the delete key a little more often, I think J may be handing you the rope.

The Quizzinator said...

What is missing from your Google of an action for defamation is a defination of what defamation is. Why don't you look that up, copy what you think that has been posted meets that definition, and let me know, and I'll either remove it, or tell you why it does not meet those standards.

I have looked at the case law. First, it would be difficult to find me, as I've taken a few steps to cover my tracks. Not particularly complicated ones, but enough that it would require to be compelled to do some forensics to find me out. They would (as other blogging sites have) fight that, as it is one of the ways they make money. I've chosen not to put ads up, but many sites do. They don't want to kill that cash cow.

Second...I've offered several times to pull any comment that might be considered beyond the pale; all someone has to do is point it out, and why. However, this is identical to when someone starts to say what great things J. is doing, and then when asked for specifics...nothing.

Look over at Newszap at the "Positive" stuff at HC. Fred posted the most positive stuff, but most of them are not really her doing. Now, she gets credit for continuing good things, I guess, but you can't use that as proof of how great she is doing.

I also wrote Newszap about why they pulled the blog and got squat in return. They've gotten very politically correct lately, pulling stuff that people are complaining about, even if there is no legal reason for them to do so.

Anonymous said...

Which comment(s) met all three condtions?

Anonymous said...

First, fix is simple Quiz..Focus on issues not personalities..Many of your posts (yes they belong to you as it is your blog) focus on personality traits of admin.

Second, In defense of your own blog you state:

"I have looked at the case law. First, it would be difficult to find me, as I've taken a few steps to cover my tracks."

If that's not a statement of guilt, I've never seen one. Believe it or not Quiz, I think this idea of public dialog has some merit, but you are making it way too personal...And by your own admission it is wrong.

Anonymous said...

DEFAMATION - An act of communication that causes someone to be shamed, ridiculed, held in contempt, lowered in the estimation of the community, or to lose employment status or earnings or otherwise suffer a damaged reputation. Such defamation is couched in 'defamatory language'. Libel and slander are defamation.


Anonymous said...

In your opinion, which comments meet the defintion? Not fixing the internet filter? Not notifying parents about the skating party cancellation? Not sure which ones you mean.

Anonymous said...

None of the stuff on this blog--or on the other--was close to being "actionable" in a defamation lawsuit. As far as Newzap's comment--I don't know where they got their legal advice (if indeed they got legal advice) but they are simply wrong. Criticism of a person's professional competence isn't actionable--she's "public" in the sense that she is the public face of HC.

The Quizzinator said...

In order to meet the standard of law, we are talking about getting sued for libel or slander. Libel is the standard we are looking at, and the key element is that one has to post a false statement knowingly.

My tracks are covered because it is relatively easy to bring a lawsuit, and I want to make it difficult to do so. Personally, the stupidest thing they could do would be to sue to try to get the take a relatively small, local blog and make it nationwide news as they try to find out. I suspect my hit counter would go through the roof if they threatened a lawsuit. It is not an admission of guilt but simple common sense that if you check any "how to blog" lists they tell you to do.

My obligation is the same as Newszap...if someone is offended, let me know and and I will see if it is fair, and remove it if is inappropriate. I guess you could sue the State News to find out the address of who posted it, but you wouldn't get too far trying to sue them for the comments themselves.

As for her personality.....that is a tough one. Some aspects of her personality DO reflect on the way she does her job, and I think are fair game if they affect the operation of the school.

I contend the main reason the teachers have left is because of her actions and the way they were treated by her. I've talked to most of them, and I know this is true. I've talked to staff and teachers, who have said that this treatment is ruining the school...and, espeically those who have left or who are planning on leaving, have made their feelings known to many. It is very difficult to discuss the specific reasons or actions when it really comes down to her personality as the reason they are leaving.

Trust me when I say that we have many stories that we don't run. We argue with each other and our spouses over the appropriateness or applicability of it...some discussions going back way before the blog got started.

If there are specific statements that are false, please let me know.

Anonymous said...

You are wrong period. Whether you are sued or not. Good Luck. I tried...I will be visible and participating in helping the fix and will criticize your blog publicly whenever I get the chance. If you don't know who I am by now you will...God Bless


The Quizzinator said...

JTK...I appreciate your input, and will join you in on other fronts to get things changed. This has not been the only time nor is it the only method I have tried.

I had people wanting to start a blog back in OCTOBER, and I discouraged them. I felt one had to let Jacono know one's concerns, let Father Dan know one's concerns...I was not a big fan of going above that, as I figured it

The Quizzinator said...

it could be resolved. There was acknowledgement of some of the issues, but the answer was to "give her some time". Her actions never changed (okay, they briefly improved after I suspect he talked to her in the December timeframe), but specific complaints were met with what amounted to a shrug, as if "what do you want me to do about it?"

Anonymous said...

One more thing before I go Quizzie, and this may give you more of an idea as to my identity, I was accosted by one of the Jacono bashers that you give free reign. So, this has gotten to the level where fear of reprisal from the "bash Jacono" camp is real..Hope you don't support that Quiz. I do suspect that you are partners in crime with this individual and do not know the dangers...Now I must go away


The Quizzinator said...

I am sorry that you feel the need to leave. We've addressed every issue you brought up, and asked you to write an article about Jacono's accomplishments, and you demurred.

It is an interesting spin you put on being afraid of our vast milita, trying to turn our very real and demonstrated fear of reprisal from the school and the church.

No one is aware of the incident you mention, but it does bring up the fact there are many out there who feel as the few of us do...and even we are suprised at some of the people who are are very unhappy with her.

So, I hope you come back, but if not...Godspeed, and I'll see you over at Newszap...

Anonymous said...

I have spoken to a special teacher that has left and while J was not THE reason for leaving, she certainly made the decision an easier one.

Anonymous said...

I know one teacher definitely made it clear that they left because of J. As for some of the others, she may not have been the ONLY reason, but it definitely helped them make their decision.