Friday, January 17, 2014

Obsidian Finance Group v. Cox (9th Cir. - Jan. 17, 2014)

The Ninth Circuit made bloggers a tiny bit happier today.  Holding that even bloggers -- not just the institutional press -- are protected by the First Amendment holding in Gertz, and that as a result, a plaintiff who sues 'em for defamation for posts that involve a public concern needs to demonstrate actual (not merely presumed) damages as well as negligence on the part of the blogger.

Law blogger Eugene Volokh (The Volokh Conspiracy) represented the defendant on appeal, and law blogger Tom Goldstein (SCOTUSblog) filed an amicus brief.  Darn good representation on behalf of a blogger who "published blog posts on several websites that she created [] accusing [plaintiffs] of fraud, corruption, money-laundering, and other illegal activities" and "apparently has a history of making similar allegations and seeking payoffs in exchange for retraction."

A nice present as we head into the long weekend.