Moronic posters beware
Posted in the Cooper Forum
#1 Apr 22, 2012
From The Paris News, Sunday, April 22, 2012
Texarkana and former Clarksville attorney Mark Lesher and his wife Rhonda late Friday were awarded more than $13.75 million in a case that involved posting defamatory messages on the Topix website.
The decision by a jury in 348th District Court in Fort Worth is a landmark Internet defamation decision, one of the first against Internet posters, who often have hidden under the free speech defense.
Mark Lesher said after the jury decision was read:“This vindicates us. The defamatory statements that helped bring charges against us have finally brought us vindication.”
The Leshers sued Jerry Coyel, his wife Shannon and their office manager at Apache Salvage in Fort Worth, Charlie Doshier, over more than 600 defamatory postings on Topix.com .
Trial began with jury selection on Monday and testimony started Tuesday and ended Wednesday.
The jury began its deliberation in Judge Dana Womack’s court Thursday and reached a decision shortly after 4 p.m. on Friday, finding the more than 600 statements posted on Topix concerning the Leshers were false and the defendants “failed to exercise ordinary care” when publishing the defamatory messages.
Mark Lesher was awarded actual damages from Jerry Coyel of $2,700 for injury to reputation, past and future, and $2.4 million for mental anguish, past and future.
Rhonda Lesher was awarded actual damages from Jerry Coyel of $480,000 for injury to reputation, past and future, and $2.25 million for mental anguish, past and future, and $438,000 for lost profits, past and future.
Total damages awarded from Jerry Coyel were $8.26 million.
The jury also awarded damages from Shannon Coyel totaling $1.7 million for Mark and $1.05 million for Rhonda, totaling $2.75 million, pushing the total awards to more than $11 million for Mark from the Coyels and $2.75 million from Doshier.
The jury also awarded damages from Jerry’s manager at Apache totaling $2.75 million for a grand total jury verdict of $13.78 million.
Attorneys representing the Coyels were Wes Tidwell and Ed Ellis of Paris.
Events in the case started when the Leshers were accused of sexual assault by Shannon Coyel, who testified before a Red River County grand jury. It was her testimony that led to charges being filed against the Leshers.
The Leshers were exonerated in a highly publicized trial in Collin County in January 2009, in which a judge admonished Red River County for bringing the case to court.
Before the trial and long after, the posts filled the Topix site, and the Leshers demanded and got the IP addresses of the posters. All the posts were said to have come from the Apache site in Fort Worth and linked to the Coyels and their employees.
#2 Apr 23, 2012
good one, now what about threats....
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