Tuesday, September 05, 2006

"Too Conservative" Endorses Internet Libel and/or Slander

Or, at least one contributor over there does. Boy! Vince may be young, but he was never this foolish. It seems that the pseudonymous poster "Loudoun Insider" (yeah, I'll bet) has said that he's contributing to Greg Letieqc's legal defense fund against a lawsuit brought by Steve Chapman in response to some of the more outrageous allegations on Greg's website in its prior incarnation.

As I've frequently said, I don't know about the merits or the law of the lawsuit, since I am not Chapman's attorney, nor do I specialize in that area of the law.

What I do know is this: Greg, and his former partner, the pseudonymous BVBL, engaged in a campaign of hate and ridicule against Steve Chapman. Some of their allegations may have been false; if they were, they may be actionable. Of course, most of those allegations have been removed from the Internet, when BVBL him/herself disappeared into the ether. The only reason that Greg is still in the suit is because: (a) he lay down with the dog and has picked up a few fleas in the form of potentially joint and several liability; and (b) unlike BVBL, Greg at least possesses the courage to put his name to his allegations, even if he lacks the judgment/circumspection that one should exercise when doing so.

Greg reports that the suit is going to trial, which tells me --- as a litigator --- that there is a colorable legal claim there, and that all of the Internet sound and fury over "free speech" pretty much signifies nothing. If BVBL's factual statements about Chapman were not provably false, the matter would not go to trial, and would be dismissed on a motion for summary judgment, or its Virginia equivalent. Thus, that the case is going to trial demonstrates that BVBL's statements about Chapman were almost certainly false.

That it is says to me that Greg may well be in a whole heap 'o trouble. It also says that anyone contributing to Greg's legal defense fund is, at this point, endorsing the kind of falsehoods that almost certainly form the basis for the decision that the case will go to trial.

And it may well be that some people may be in for a hearty serving of crow, as follows:

Commonwealth Conservative: Steve Chapman is embarrasing himself
Virginia Virtucon: Blog-a-thon
Not Larry Sabato: Outrage
New Dominion: So Sue Me
Jaded JD: “And they shall know that I am THE LORD, when I lay my vengeance upon them.”
Brian Patton: Bloggers Beware
SLANTblog: Black Velvet Bruce Lee Sue-icide
Virginia Virtucon: BVBL faces Legal Eagles over Chapman allegations
One Man’s Trash: The JD Investigates
Virginia Centrist: Blogger threatened by public official
Craig’s Musings: The lamest candidate excuse ever
Not Larry Sabato: Chapman Lawsuit Continues
Free Republic: Candidate misses filing deadline; Claims blogger distracted him; Files $200K lawsuit
Virginia Virtucon: Black Velvet if you Please

Like I said: I don't know the law or the merits. But what little I do know tells me that bravado is not the appropriate attitude for Greg at this point. As for the rest, we shall see.


Craig said...

James, I went back and reread my post, "The lamest candidate excuse ever", and don't think I will be eating any crow regardless of the outcome. Whether or not the posts went over the legal lines in attacking Chapman, letting them distract his campaign was pretty sad.

James Young said...

Well, Craig, I would probably agree with you on both points: that was a lame excuse, and it doesn't put you in line for a serving of crow. I confess that I didn't go back and re-read every one of those posts. Obviously, the ones that didn't savage Chapman for filing his lawsuit and/or express support for the defense against it --- and yours is not among them --- don't qualify for that delicacy.

republitarian said...

What people don't understand is that you cannot PUBLISH anything, anywhere that does harm to another....

If a newspaper publishes something about you that is not true you can sue them...happens all the time.

True, public officials are different, but you can't "destroy" them.

Anonymous said...

BVBL must have the world's worst attorney. He didn't even file a Demurrer in the case. That verges on legal malpractice on its face. Of course, BVBL has a trackrecord of getting himself into legal trouble just about every month. And nobody, I mean NOBODY believes that the "Original Black Velvet Bruce Lee" was anybody other than Greg.

James Young said...

I honestly don't know, Anon 11:27. I've never heard it suggested. The bilious posts by the "Original BVBL" don't strike me as Greg, but I could be wrong. Were I Greg, I would be working very hard to identify that individual. Whether legally significant or not, I would at least want to make a distinction, if for no other reason than salvaging my own reputation.