Sunday, October 4, 2009

Chicago Woman Sues Bullies Over Fake Facebook Profile of Her Son

On September 24, 2009, Laura Cook filed a suit on behalf of her son after four other students created a fake profile of the boy -- with his actual cell phone number, photos, and defamatory remarks. The defendants' posts suggested the boy liked to engage in homosexual acts, and they also sent "disturbing, vulgar and sexual comments to a few girls."

At one point, the fake profile had 580 "friends" -- many who knew the boy. Some of the users recognized the profile as a prank, but some believed it really belonged to Cook's son. This kind of humiliation, broadcast to 580 peers, would be pretty traumatic to any kid -- but because this student participates in athletics at state, regional, and national levels, the damage to his reputation is particularly significant.

Cook alleges five claims: defamation per se, defamation per quod, false light, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and injunctive relief.

The nature and extent of publication factors into the damages calculation in defamation actions. Suddenly "580 Facebook friends"-worth of damages probably doesn't seem too funny to these four little bullies anymore.

The story, as reported by the Chicago Sun-Times:
Mother sues over defamatory fake Facebook profile of son :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Metro & Tri-State

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1 comment:

  1. Particularly liked your closing line here about what seems "funny," Ms Erickson. It also strikes me as curious what folks in the process of divorce will say about one another by way of merely venting on social media, only to find themselves parting with the equivalent of a Rolex watch or more in consequence.