Suit goes after Nola.com and tries to silence SLABBED
Citing defamation and “suffered embarrassment” allegedly caused by online comments posted at www.NOLA.com, Jefferson Parish interim President Steve Theriot has filed a lawsuit requesting the identities behind 11 user accounts on the website.
The suit, which is seeking an unspecified amount of money for damages, alleges that anonymous comments left on the site through those accounts “were made with malice, and a blatant, intentional disregard for the truth, and with the intent that such statements damage plaintiffs.”
NOLA.com is the web affiliate of The Times-Picayune. The suit was filed against the commenters. It asks the website to reveal their identities, but it does not name NOLA.com or The Times-Picayune as a defendant. James O’Byrne, NOLA.com’s director of content, said, “We have received a subpoena and we will discuss it with our attorneys. We have no comment at this time.”
The suit was filed by attorneys Nan Alessandra and David Korn of the Phelps Dunbar law firm. The lawsuit also references messages posted on a local web log called slabbed.wordpress.com, but doesn’t specifically identify any comments, screen names or accounts used there. “We haven’t actually been contacted by Jefferson Parish at all, as far as official channels,” said Doug Handshoe, who co-founded that site in Mississippi.
After reading the lawsuit, he said: “I think it’s certainly designed to intimidate and silence online commenters.
“We don’t intend to alter what we’re doing at all,” he said.