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<xTITLE>There's Nothing to Protect You</xTITLE>

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 is CEO of Mediate.com.  From 2017 to 2020 Colin was Vice President for Online Dispute Resolution at Tyler Technologies. Tyler acquired Modria.com, an ODR provider Colin co-founded, in 2017. From 2003 to 2011 Colin was Director of Online Dispute Resolution for eBay and PayPal.  Colin co-founded Online Resolution, one of the first online dispute resolution (ODR) providers, in 1999 and served as its CEO and President.  Colin worked for several years with the National Institute for Dispute Resolution (now ACR) in Washington, D.C. and the Consensus Building Institute in Cambridge, MA.

Colin is the author of Online Dispute Resolution for Business, published by Jossey-Bass in September 2002, and co-author of The New Handshake: Online Dispute Resolution and the Future of Consumer Protection, published by the ABA in 2017. He received the first Frank Sander Award for Innovation in ADR from the American Bar Association in 2020, and the Mary Parker Follett Award from the Association for Conflict Resolution in 2013. He holds a Master’s degree from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in conflict resolution and technology, a graduate certificate in dispute resolution from UMass-Boston, a B.A. from Haverford College, and he served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Eritrea from 1995-1997.  You can read many of his articles and see some of his talks at colinrule.com/writing.



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