Mar 15, 2011

Another Twibel Contender

As I noted yesterday, we're still waiting for the first defamation trial in an American court stemming from Twitter -- what the British apparently think us Yanks call "twible."

While the two cases that were contenders both concluded prior to trial, there's a new contender: an NBA referee is suing an Associated Press reporter over a tweet sent during a Jan. 24 game that the referee claims accused him of fixing the game. The offending tweet is here; details on the case are here; the complaint is here.

The interesting thing here is that although it stems from a Twitter posting, in this case the defendant is a professional journalist from an established news organization.  And while anything can happen, the AP's aggressive statement in response to the suit -- my friend and colleague Dave Tomlin,* who is associate counsel of the news agency, said that “We believe all of the facts we reported from the game in question were accurate.” -- and the AP's ability to pay lawyers to defend the suit makes this one a good contender for the first "twibel" trial.

* In the interest of full disclosure, I should also note that in addition to my professional relationship with Dave, he sits on the board of my employer.


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