Today (Fri Aug. 29) the Texas Supreme Court handed a victory to a man who was smeared by a former employer on the Internet. Houston appellate lawyer Martin Siegel represented Robert Kinney in a case of interest to anyone who has been cyber-bullied or had something defamatory written about them on the internet.
The Texas high court told Mr. Kinney that an Austin trial court was wrong when it said that even if someone places a damaging falsehood about him online, it can remain there forever and the Texas courts cannot order it to be removed.
“This is a win for Robert and other people who are smeared online. The Supreme Court reinstated his lawsuit and ordered that the defamation will have to be removed from the web if he wins before a jury. Before, the courts said his only possible remedy would be an award of money damages. The Supreme Court carefully limited the extent of the injunction to the existing posts, but if the defamation is repeated in new posts, it will be easy for Robert to get new orders taking those down too. The important thing is, a person can’t destroy someone else’s reputation online and have that stay on the web forever, as the other side wanted,” said Houston appellate lawyer Martin Siegel.
Mr. Kinney sued a former employer but does not seek damages. He simply wants to get the false statements about his past work removed from the Internet. He can now go ahead with his lawsuit.
Case: Robert Kinney v. Andrew Harrison Barnes et al. No. 13-0043
Opinion here: http://www.supreme.courts.state.tx.us/historical/2014/aug/130043.pdf