Monday, April 23, 2012

Cryptomundo, Loren Coleman, and Matt Moneymaker Defendants in Defamation Case


Today, April 23rd 2012, Cryptomundo has asked for help in raising funds for it's legal defense. You can make a contribution to Cryptomundo's legal defense fund at the paypal account (legaldefensefund@cryptomundo.com). 

Craig Woolheater has posted:
Cryptomundo and Loren Coleman have been sued for defamation by a member of the site, John Johnsen (click here to see a copy of the Complaint). Both Cryptomundo and Loren believe the case is baseless. Mr. Johnsen has demanded that he be given ownership of the website to settle the case. This is simply not acceptable.
We are not lawyers, but according to the legal document the domain Cryptomundo.com is on the table. below is an excerpt from the legal Summons Document (you can see the document here)
Plaintiff requests judgment against Defendant Cryptomundo for damages, including but not limited to liquidated and actual damages, costs, interest, attorney's fees, and prays for such other relief in equity, including but not limited to transfer or any and all domain names associated with Defendant Cryptomundo, which this Court deems just and proper.
What is all this about? In paragraph 13-15 it describes the alleged act of defamation:
13. On or about Junee 8, 2011, Defendant Moneymaker published an inaccurate recitation of his interactions with Plaintiff, during a wildlife expedition in the Ocala National Forest. During
this characterization of Defendant Moneymaker's interactions with Plaintiff, Defendant
Moneymaker defamed Plaintiff by stating that Plaintiff was mentally ill and by accusing
Plaintiff of carrying firearms into the Ocala National Forest.
14. Defendant Moneymaker published these comments on the website www.cryptomundo.com. a forum for members of the cryptozoological community. See Exhibit 1.
15. The statements disseminated by Defendant Moneymaker were defamatory in nature because they depicted Plaintiff as a crazy, delusional man who carries firearms into national forests, and is "not in the same reality as the rest of us," to quote from Defendant Moneymaker.
What are typical defenses against Defamation? Again we are not experts and we do not practice law. We did visit ExpertLaw.com and found these common defenses against a defamation.

What Defenses Are Available To People Accused of Defamation?
The most important defense to an action for defamation is "truth", which is an absolute defense to an action for defamation.
Another defense to defamation actions is "privilege". For example, statements made by witnesses in court, arguments made in court by lawyers, statements by legislators on the floor of the legislature, or by judges while sitting on the bench, are ordinarily privileged, and cannot support a cause of action for defamation, no matter how false or outrageous.
A defense recognized in most jurisdictions is "opinion". If the person makes a statement of opinion as opposed to fact, the statement may not support a cause of action for defamation. Whether a statement is viewed as an expression of fact or opinion can depend upon context - that is, whether or not the person making the statement would be perceived by the community as being in a position to know whether or not it is true. If your employer calls you a pathological liar, it is far less likely to be regarded as opinion than if such a statement is made by somebody you just met. Some jurisdictions have eliminated the distinction between fact and opinion, and instead hold that any statement that suggests a factual basis can support a cause of action for defamation.
A defense similar to opinion is "fair comment on a matter of public interest". If the mayor of a town is involved in a corruption scandal, expressing the opinion that you believe the allegations are true is not likely to support a cause of action for defamation.
A defendant may also attempt to illustrate that the plaintiff had a poor reputation in the community, in order to diminish any claim for damages resulting from the defamatory statements.
A defendant who transmitted a message without awareness of its content may raise the defense of "innocent dissemination". For example, the post office is not liable for delivering a letter which has defamatory content, as it is not aware of the contents of the letter.
An uncommon defense is that the plaintiff consented to the dissemination of the statement.

We know many of you have your own blogs and your own facebook groups. It is important that we are able to quote third party opinions and not have to fear litigation. You can contribute to the Cryptomundo defense fund. It is easy. Go to this paypal link and type in legaldefensefund@cryptomundo.com as the recipient. For the record we have a made a small contribution ourselves.

13 comments:

  1. John Johnson is a Documentary Film Maker of Sasquatch. That makes him a public figure. SEE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_Times_Co._v._Sullivan

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  2. John Johnsen of Texas is suing Matthew Moneymaker of Santa Clara, California,Loren Coleman of Portland, Maine and Cryptomundo of Mansfield, Texas in a court in Florida. I do not believe Florida is the court of jurisdiction.

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    1. Johnsen lives in Florida. However if Texas wants him it can have him

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  3. It will most likely get tossed out of court it seems to me all this was done though 3rd party’s. And that will make it difficult to pen anyone on a quote or action but then I am a layman on this subject.

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    1. Lee, you need to read torte as filed. All parties are named. Cryptomundo is the website. Coleman is the reporter. Moneymaker and Coleman are both alleged to have libeled or slandered John Johnsen.

      I looked at the caselaw long ago in a case between to professionals in laboratories making statements online. On sued on the basis that the other had slandered her reputation. The plaintiff could not be prove that it affected her professional reputation.

      I have been repeatedly slandered or libeled online in the last 15 years. I thought I might have someone, but the whole process is extremely difficult to make headway on.

      While it may cost John Johnsen of FLORIDA some money when he loses, the publicity might be well worth it.

      Note that I made a mistake on the location of Johnsen. I am not sure what made me think he was from Texas.

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    2. read torte=read THE torte
      On sued=One sued

      I wish I could edit some of these directly.

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    3. John I said I was a layman and nothing more than that but I am sure it will get tossed but your right Johnsen will get a lot of publicity with this I just wonder how he is going to recoup his cost? And as far as TX goes my home state you could have mixed him up with MK Davis.

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    4. I cannot tell that anything happened with John Johnsen, except he got his feelings hurt. There was not enough in his torte to show that, but perhaps he has some "ace up his sleeve" we do not know about.

      All I know for sure is if people could be sued for slander, I would be sitting with a pile of money in an island country with adult refreshments and daily massages.

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    5. Shut up John, your just a copyright infringing, douchebag, loudmouth, fatslob, armchair wanna be researcher, no one takes anything you say seriously!

      You and your opinion are worthless.

      Delete
  4. If he hasn't already done so, Coleman should reach out to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. I don't think they litigate cases themselves, but they file amicus briefs and might be able to help him find someone to take the case for a reduced fee or pro bono.

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  5. I seen one once.

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  6. Sorry, But I think Johnsen is right. The lack of responsibility of public figures in cryptozoology and the escalation of bloggers throwing out self-serving commentary willy nilly without proper verification -- and in some cases correct format of a quotation -- has gotten completely out of hand. Cyberbullying is wrong and perhaps this kind of legal action will cause people to consider their words more carefully. I'm not in favor of limiting open, meaningful diiscussion. But, I am fed up with character assination as a tactical means to win an argument.

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