Jefferson Parish President Withdraws Lawsuit | Online Defamation Law Suits

Posted by admin | May 25th, 2010

The Interim President of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, Steven Theriot, apparently doesn’t have the thick skin of a public official. He was claiming, just a few days ago, that he would sue for allowing anonymous users to post defamatory comments on the Internet. However, the Communications Decency Act of 1996, Section 230, makes it pretty clear that third party publishing is not punishable via law.

However, the Interim President has since withdrawn his lawsuit. Theriot says it caused an uproar that he never expected, and he certainly wasn’t trying to abridge the right to free speech.

“This lawsuit was never intended to silence individuals from expressing their views or suppressing any First Amendment rights,” Mr. Theriot said in the statement. “Rather, the focus was on the detrimental consequences that stem from false and injurious statements being made by anonymous posters and bloggers in cyberspace.”

Mr. Theriot’s status as a public official would have made the case quite difficult, or impossible, for him to win anyway–a fact he must have realized after consulting with his lawyers.

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