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There's Nothing to Protect You

by Colin Rule
August 2011

Novo Justice Blog by Colin Rule

Colin Rule

“A Marin County cosmetic surgeon who filed a defamation suit against an online reviewer was ordered to pay nearly $20,000 in attorney’s fees after a judge dismissed the case "with prejudice in its entirety."

Dr. Kimberly Henry of Greenbrae was also told to pay a $2,000 award to the defendant’s lawyer for the "public interest benefit" of his work on the case.

The order was issued this week by Marin Superior Court Judge Roy Chernus, who tossed out Henry’s lawsuit against her former patient, Deidra Carson.

"(Henry) was clearly trying to penalize Defendant’s fundamental right of freedom of speech under the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States," Chernus wrote.

Henry, commenting on the outcome of the case, said the country’s free speech law means "you can say whatever you want, even if it’s not true."

"You can’t fight it," she said Thursday. "There’s nothing to protect you."

Henry filed the lawsuit in May 2010 after Carson posted negative comments about Henry’s care at Yelp.com, a website for consumer reviews. The lawsuit sought more than $2 million in damages on claims of libel and defamation, invasion of privacy and interference with prospective economic advantage…”

Wow, this is a stinging rebuke of the Medical Justice approach. All the more reason to provide a meaningful redress process that is fair to both sides.

Biography


Colin Rule has worked at the intersection of technology and conflict resolution for the last two decades. He is CEO of Modria.com, an online dispute resolution service provider in Silicon Valley, and a non-resident Fellow at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School. From 2003 to 2011, he served as eBay and PayPal's first director of Online Dispute Resolution, designing and implementing systems that now resolve more than 60 million disputes each year. Mr. Rule is the author of Online Dispute Resolution for Business, published by Jossey-Bass in September 2002. He has presented and trained around the world for organizations including the U.S. Department of State, UNCITRAL, the International Chamber of Commerce, and the CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution, as well as teaching at UMass-Amherst, Stanford, Southern Methodist University, and Hastings College of the Law. He has written and been interviewed extensively about the Internet since 1999, with columns and articles appearing in ACResolution, Consensus, Dispute Resolution Magazine, and Peace Review. He holds a master's degree from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government in conflict resolution and technology, a B.A. in peace studies from Haverford College, and he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Eritrea from 1995-1997.



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Website: www.modria.com

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