Twitter Libel: Landlord sues tenant for $50,000

In what has to be one of the most unusual and potentially ill-advised twitter related lawsuits, a Chicago landlord sued a former tenant for $50,000 for a practically unseen twitter post – until now. “Who said sleeping in a moldy apartment was bad for you? Horizon realty thinks it’s okay,” Amanda Bonnen apparently wrote in her Twitter feed May 12 at 9:08 a.m., broadcast to her two dozen followers.

As one would expect, there is history between the parties. Amanda Bonnen filed against Horizon after an incident in March when a contractor caused a roof leak that affected some of units at 4242 N. Sheridan Road. Horizon claimed no mold was found but conceded she experienced leaking into her apartment. According to a Horizon press release, “…all tenant grievances were quickly and amicably resolved, except Ms. Bonnen’s. She moved out of her unit on her own volition June 30, 2009 at which time there was no evidence of mold in her apartment.”

Apparently in the course of due diligence for Bonnen’s action, Horizon’s lawyers discovered the offending tweet. So what did Horizon do – have a conversation with Bonnen and demand its removal? Apparently not. Jeffrey Michael, whose family has run Horizon for more than 25 years, allegedly said: “The statements are obviously false, and it’s our intention to prove that… We’re a sue first, ask questions later kind of an organization,” noting that the family manages over 1,500 apartments in Chicago and wants to preserve its good reputation.

One can only wonder whether the repercussions from the negative publicity are greater than the damages sought over this single tweet.

Juror Adds Key Witness as a Facebook Friend

For several weeks during trial, juror Karen Krell apparently tried to add Brendan Cawley, a surviving firefighter and witness for the prosecution, as a Facebook friend. Cawley chose to ignore her requests claiming he did not recognize her, as per his testimony in Bronx Supreme Court. The day after the guilty verdict was delivered against building manager, Cesar Rios, Krell again attempted to contact Cawley, this time with the identification that she was a juror on the case. Cawley accepted the request, briefly discussed the case and, a week later, reported the incident to the District Attorney’s office. It’s difficult to believe that any juror would even think of such an action, which is unfortunately being exploited by counsel for the defense who are attempting to get the verdict overturned.

Facebook Loses Lawsuit Against German Clone StudiVZ

Every great invention is copied somewhere  on this planet. No, I’m not talking about in China but about Germany. Yes, you read correctly – Germany – the fatherland of modern innovation. In a ruling this week in a copyright infringement case, the State Court in Cologne, Germany ruled against Facebook for in favor of its “clone”, StudiVZ, which is home to a reported 13+ million German speaking social networkers. [Read more…]

Congress Taps Into Steroids, now Apple iPhone

As if it wasn’t enough for Congress to be wasting its time and spending millions in taxpayer dollars to fight the war for professional sports leagues against steroids. Now four members of Congress have decided to call for an investigation into whether AT&T should be able to have an exclusive agreement with Apple for distrubution of the iPhone and use on its network. I’m unaware that our Constitution provides for the right to have an iPhone on any carrier of one’s choosing. [Read more…]

Match.com Class Action Lawsuit, Complaint Alleges Fraud

Man needs a date and isn’t getting the attention he seeks from women online. Man also needs money (you’re never too rich or too thin.) What should man do? File a class action lawsuit against a deep pocket, of course! In the case filed June 9, 2009 in the US Southern District Court of New York, Sean McGinn – forlorn single man – sued Match.com for deceptive practices that have caused him deep, emotional, lasting dating trauma. While the plaintiff’s attorneys make some understandable points regarding misleading practices online, it appears these class action lawyers missed the biggest legitimate complaint of all – and I’ll disclose what it is in this article. [Read more…]

Microsoft to Unbundle Internet Explorer

Due to the European Commision’s decision to recently rule that Microsoft was in violation of antitrust law for years by bundling Internet Explorer with Windows operating system software, Microsoft Deputy General Counsel Dave Heiner reported in his blog that Windows 7 would feature IE unbundled with an optional install in Europe. The European Union spun this decision as Microsoft providing less rather than more, e.g. a decision to include other browsers as optional installs within Windows 7, such as Norway’s Opera. It is interesting that the EU decided to take this action almost an entire decade after this issue was decided in the U.S. Might this have anything to do with the recent economic turmoil leaving governments to find inventive ways to find new revenues?