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Jul. 28 2009 - 5:06 pm | 77 views | 1 recommendation | 7 comments

The other $50,000 defamation lawsuits awaiting Chicago tweeter

tweet-exhibitThe Web is buzzing about the $50,000 defamation suit that Horizon Realty has filed against Amanda Bonnen of Chicago. It’s based on a comment Bonnen made on Twitter. One little tweet!

In May, the Chicago resident did what many of Twitter’s millions of users do–she tweeted a complaint. Specifically, she tweeted THIS complaint:

@JessB123 You should just come anyway. Who said sleeping in a moldy apartment was bad for you? Horizon realty thinks it’s okay.

Today, Horizon Group Management filed a lawsuit against her, alleging that her statement damaged the company’s business reputation.

According to the complaint filed in Cook County court today, Bonnen “maliciously and wrongfully published the false and defamatory Tweet on Twitter, thereby allowing the Tweet to be distributed throughout the world.”

Bonnen has 20 followers on Twitter.

via Twitter Lawsuit: Tenant sued by landlord for tweeting about apartment – Chicago Bar-tender via Laura Heller -Second City Nitty Gritty – True/Slant

@Horizon – Gosh, you are now the laughingstock of just about every blogger on the Internets.

That tweet went from being viewed by 20 of Bonnen’s followers, to being reproduced and viewed by millions on the World Wide Web.

Amanda Bonnen has taken down her Twitter page, but the complaint [pdf] filed by Horizon Realty included her Twitter feed as evidence. I looked it over. She’s quite the complainatweeter. If a few other parties are in the mood for massive Internet humiliation, they should file supporting briefs in this defamation suit.

The Horizon Realty tweet is number 46 out of 60 tweets included as Exhibit A on the complaint. Here are a few of Amanda Bonnen’s other potentially defamatory tweets:

6. Top five of worst flights ever. Never again spirit air. 3:45 PM Jul 9th

Spirit Air, are you feeling the suing spirit?

7. All of these people eating McDonalds is making me want to hurl. 12:28 PM Jul 9th

McDonalds, bet you’re not lovin’ it. Sue!

9. Damn you Ohare and your 2hr security lines. 11:25 PM July 9th

O’ no you didn’t, Bonnen. Chicago’s International Airport should totally sue.

13. Watching a hippie play hacky-sak on the el. Surprisingly… he’s not very good. Maybe it’s because he is wearing socks over his sandels… 1:53 PM Jul 7th

That hippie should throw on his sandals and head to the courthouse. Sue!

16. Whoever designed the train with the bi-fold doors was a duche. 4:30 PM Jul 2nd

That douche train designer should definitely sue.

22. My UHaul was towed today. Who tows a UHaul while people are moving? Really chicago? 7:00 PM Jun 20th

The windy city should blow a lawsuit Bonnen’s way.

58. sweet. In public and just realized there is a huge blazinh [sic] hole in my sweater. Why do I continue to shop at urban again?? 12:27 PM Apr 27th

Urban Outfitters, would your defamation suit be as threadbare as your clothes?


3 T/S Member Comments Called Out, 7 Total Comments
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  1. collapse expand

    Great post. Very amusing AND disturbing. Do you think this lawsuit has legs? Talk about a chilling effect on speech.

  2. collapse expand

    Hmmm, quite interesting. At this rate online user reviews will become legal cases, followed by personal recommendations between friends and who knows, perhaps even thinking! Just when I thought it was safe to have an opinion.

    I recall recently however a case by a teacher or professor against a student who placed a review online of her teachings. The prof claimed that the review was defamation of character, the courts saw otherwise and ruled in favor of the student. Hopefully this will work out similarly, in the tweeter’s favor.

  3. collapse expand

    Its about time people stop taking twitter for granted. I know of a similar case where software outsourcing India was the issue and the Indian company had sued someone who had made a baseless accusation on them.

  4. collapse expand

    I would like to interview the lawyer who thought this case had legs, David…

  5. collapse expand

    Even though Amanda Bonnen is a chronic complainer, Horizon’s response (“sue first, ask questions later”) isn’t going to bode well for its future.

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