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Don Burleson Blog 








Court says presenting someone on the web in a false light is actionable

In the world of the web where people's reputations can be destroyed by anonymous criminals who post defamatory statements, it nice to see that the Ohio supreme court has upheld the right of someone who has been presented in a false light on the web to sue for damages.

"The Ohio Supreme Court said today that litigants can sue for placing them in a false light before the public, a type of invasion of privacy claim  . .

"Today, thanks to the accessibility of the Internet, the barriers to generating publicity are slight, and the ethical standards regarding the acceptability of certain discourse have been lowered. As the ability to do harm has grown, so must the law's ability to protect the innocent."

Also note that an act does not have to be untrue to be used for a false light claim, and even the disclosure of true facts can warrant a false light claim:

"Unlike libel, where journalists can use the truth of the allegedly damaging statement as a defense, false light claims can proceed even if nothing incorrect has been stated.

The Ohio Supreme Court in today's 5-2 decision said the claim does now exist in Ohio courts, saying that a "majority of jurisdictions in the United States have recognized" false light as a valid claim and that "the First Amendment concerns that some courts have raised in regard to false-light claims are overblown."



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