A couple was accused of child molestation on their ranch but was eventually cleared on bail. Although they were never found guilty the backlash of the allegation cost them their jobs and livelihood. They had to sell their home and close down their respective businesses because everyone thought they were still guilty. People were writing negative things about them online long after the trial was closed. Their lawsuit consisted of websites releasing the names of the people who had posted defamatory comments online about them. They did win that case because the comments people were right were very malicious and false. Some of the people who posted comments said that they have the right of free speech, but an attorney said that still does not encompass libel. These people were writing false facts about the couple.
A deacon Chang Hyun Moon, filed a lawsuit against 22 church members accusing them of spreading a memorandum containing accusations that he says are false and resulted in the break up of his marriage. The deacon claims they signed the memorandum titled “Reprimand of Deacon Moon”. The memo made accusations stating that Moon “verbally threatened to report the details of church members’ offerings to the IRS,” the lawsuit stated that “the Korean community is a culture of honor, and falsely alleging that a member of that community threatened to report some of its members” however Moon’s wife filed a petition to end that marriage and stated that he had trouble with the church. Chang Hyun Moon filed the lawsuit $100,000 in damages and litigation costs on three counts defamation, false light invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Tragically Steve Branch was murdered in 1993, in which 3 teenage boys were convicted of his murder. Supporters of the convicted boys stated that they were singled out due to their interest in occult and heavy metal, and were coerced into confessing. The Dixie chicks posted allegations on their website in 2007 of DNA evidence linking Hobbs, Branch’s step father, for the murder. Natalie Maine singer of the group Dixie chicks held a rally in support of the boys and the recent new evidence that linked Hobbs to the crime. Hobbs sued the Dixie chicks for defamation in which he sought compensatory and punitive damages with claims that he lost income and suffered emotional distress brought on by the allegations. Judge Miller dismissed the Hobbs lawsuit because Hobbs couldn’t prove malicious intent or the knowing release of false statements. Hobbs was later ordered to pay Maines $17,590 in compensation for her legal expenses.
In continuation of part 2 of the case, Step father Hobbs claimed a defamation case November 25th, 2013 due to the fact that Maine’s claims and assumptions she made apparent during a rally in which she stated that DNA evidence was found that pointed towards Hobbs being guilty for the murders of the three 8 year old boys. Maines also took to online to The Dixie Chicks website to expose the finding as well. Because of these allegations, and in order for Hobbs claimed that the allegations made on his behalf regarding the murder of his stepson were so atrocious, extreme and intolerable that to clear his name, he is also suing The Dixie Chicks for punitive damages due to loss of wages injury to reputation and emotional stress.
Oprah Winfrey was sued for defamation when she falsely accused the headmistress of her South African school of being aware of abuse. This accusation was made after allegations of abuse and scandal were reportedly done by the school’s dorm mothers. Judge Robreno allowed the defamation case to move forward, and scheduled a court proceeding. Winfrey settled out of court with Mzamane, the settlement of terms were not released.
The main reason that Mzamane was suing Oprah for defamation is because Mzamane stated that after being suspended, then eventually fired, for allegedly not having knowledge as the headmistress of the school that students were being subjected to abuse at the hands of what is now known by dorm mother. In a private meeting with the students parents, which is now on record, Winfrey stated to parents that Mzamane knew of the abuse, and covered it up, and also that she lost confidence in Mzamane to properly run the school, which is why she was fired. Also, when complaints came to Mzamane, she didn’t take them seriously. Because of these allegations and statements, the U.S. District judge Robreno, Philadelphia ruled that Winfrey’s comments were interpreted to be defamatory and a trial was set. Mzamane stated that she suffered from a damaged reputation by these claims and allegations, and also that she was unaware of any reports, and wasn’t given a chance to explain her side of the story before she was fired. Mzamane also stated that because of this, she wasn’t able to get a job for another year.
A false and misleading story was published by the National Enquirer about Philip Seymour Hoffman and close friend David Bar Katz accused of being lovers. The story resulted in a settlement agreement Two days after Katz filed a libel suit. The Enquirer withdrew its article and apologized for fabricating quotes that were made. The two parties then reached a settlement agreement, hefty enough for Katz to form the “American Play writing Foundation”, which will honor the late actor with an annual $45,000 prize given to an un-produced play.
A defamation lawsuit was filed against Louise Silberling on $1.25 Million, for the allegations and accusations that were made and spread all over the internet and in dozens of websites including anonymous blogs and professional rating sites, in each sites the accusations made were heavily criticizing every aspect of Mr John B. Wender from his sexual proclivities, physical endowment, ex-wife, disabled child and even his professional ethics. John B. Wender stated that Louise Silberling was a women he had met online and got together with three times. However a judge from New York State Supreme Court dismissed Wender’s defamation lawsuit because 25 of the 31 statements in questions were expression of subject opinion and were not suit for defamation. Justice Anil C. of State Supreme Court wrote “A statement is defamatory if it is false and ‘tends to expose the plaintiff to public contempt, ridicule, aversion or disgrace.”
Television producer Aaron Spelling sued his former nurse Charlene Richards attorney Don Sessions for assisting Richards in building a case of sexual harassment against him, in which he prepared letters to more than 600 actresses who had worked for spelling asking if they were ever subjected to sexual harassment. Spelling sued Sessions for defamation, as well as nurse Richards for breach of confidentiality. Judge Highberger dismissed the deformation suit due to first amendment protections in which Richards and Sessions were within their rights of inquiry to pursue their case, and the breach of contract suit still moved forward. The appellate court upheld judge Highberger’s decision.