Elsewhere in the Courts: Defamation

A restaurant owner may not sue a man who made negative remarks in an online forum. Ed Doherty, the owner of several restaurants, was quoted in an online article saying that respecting his employees was key to his success. Michael Murray, the father of a young woman who had sued Doherty, claiming she had been sexually harassed by restaurant managers when she worked for Doherty, posted a response to the article. Murray said that Doherty was “repugnant” and that his comments were untruthful. Doherty filed a defamation lawsuit against Murray. A New Jersey court dismissed the case, ruling that some of Murray’s statements were opinion and others were protected because they touched on issues of public concern. (Doherty Enterprises, Inc., v. Michael Murray, Superior Court of New Jersey, No. ESX-L-10079-08, 2009)



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