Sunday, January 26, 2014

Courtney Love Lives To Tweet Another Day

Flickr: whittlz (Creative Commons licence)
In what is considered the first ever "twibel" case, singer Courtney Love emerged victorious from a libel suit involving a June 2010 Twitter post.  The tweet suggested that her former lawyer Rhonda Holmes had been "bought off" when she decided to not represent the singer in a lawsuit involving her late husband's estate.

Ms. Holmes was hired in 2008 and later fired by Love regarding representation in matters involving the estate of her late husband, Nirvana frontman, Kurt Cobain. During the trial, Love alleged that the tweet was not meant to be public and was intended to be sent as a direct message to one individual.  However, the tweet ,"i was (expletive) devastated when Rhonda J Holmes Esq of San Diego was bought off..." was sent to all of Love's followers and was available for anyone to see.  After learning of the tweet's dissemination, Love quickly deleted it.  Ms. Holmes claimed that the tweet damaged her reputation as a limited public figure.  The attorney bore the burden of establishing that the Hole frontwoman knew that the statement was false and acted with malice by tweeting it.

The case represented the first time that libel law, a form of defamation, was used involving statements made on Twitter. After an eight day trial, the jurors deliberated for three hours and eventually sided in the singer's favor.  Love celebrated with a victory tweet, thanking her legal counsel and declaring "...We won this epic battle. #justiceprevails."  In true Courtney Love fashion, the singer is facing another libel lawsuit over actions and statements she made on the social media site Pinterest.


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