The United States Supreme Court noted in the case of Gertz v. Welch that there is no such thing as a “false idea.” And it noted in Milkovich v. Lorain Journal that opinion cannot form the basis of a defamation suit. The defamation plaintiff must establish that the defendant uttered a false fact. New York domestic relations lawyer Gary Field found out lately that the rules apply to Internet postings. Apparently someone recently took to cyberspace to let the world know that “Gary Field a/k/a ‘the Walking Fool’ is the most worst attorney licensed to practice in the State of New York. … Overall, he is dumb.” Field suspected that the poster was a disgruntled client named Robert Grant, and he filed a defamation suit. The court tossed the suit, though, on the ground that the statement, grammatically challenged as it was, constituted pure opinion. Mr. Field, I feel your pain. Here’s what an anonymous poster wrote about me recently in response to an article about a public records suit I filed:
Put on your $6,000 suit and your $4,000 jewelry, go out and jump in your $150,000 car and just keep driving. . . Do something useful with the law degree your parents paid for and stop being a hack.
Not much I can do about it, except to observe that this poster has never seen my wardrobe bill. They are off by a wide margin!