Livingston Parish Librarian Sues Local Group For Facebook Defamation
Amanda Jones, president of the Louisiana Association of School Librarians, will find out today if she can sue Citizens for a New Louisiana and its executive director, Michael Lundsford for defamation. The catch? The comments were made on social media, and the judge has to decide when Facebook insults can become defamation.
According to Jones' lawsuit, "Defendant Lunsford and Defendant CFANL have portrayed, and continue to portray, Amanda Jones as a criminal and a pedophile — one who supports dissemination of ‘pornographic materials’ to elementary school children."
Ellyn Clevenger, Jones' attorney in the defamation suit, told The Advocate that it's about stopping online commentary that is "obviously harming" Jones.
Ellyn Clevenger, Jones’ attorney, said Jones no longer feels safe at work and has received death threats as a result of the accusations. Clevenger said said Jones hopes to get a permanent injunction against these organizations to remove the posts made about her and to prevent them from posting about her in the future, along with punitive damages.
“We’re not asking that the judge make them lay down rose petals in front of her feet all day every day or give her $50,000,” Clevenger said. “We’re just asking that the judge ask them to stop what they are doing when it’s obviously harming her.”
Lundsford told The Advocate that he hadn't been served a lawsuit as of Friday, but that he's never seen legal trouble over Facebook commentary before.
“We’ve been doing this for a long time,” Lunsford told the paper. “I’ve never had any problem. You know, the truth is the truth. And you know what? The courts fall where they may.”
He also added, “When I hear people say, ‘Oh, I’m getting death threats,’ I say, ‘Let me show you mine. We’ve kind of devolved to this. It’s unfortunate. But that’s not me, I’m not that guy.”
It's a complex issue that courts have only recently started to address. Facebook itself has a defamation policy and steps that can be taken if you feel someone has defamed you on their platform. But there aren't many court cases out there that have firmly resolved the issue.
Judge Erika Sledge of the twenty-first Judicial District will be taking up the matter on Tuesday.
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