April 24, 2012

Many Americans believe that their First Amendment rights allow them to speak freely about anything. However, a Texas court ruled that saying things that are untrue about another person can cause them as much damage as a physical injury.

According to KVUE News, a Clarksville, Texas, couple has been awarded $13 million in damages after they claimed remarks made about them on an Internet chat forum defamed them.

A jury made the decision Friday in the 348th District Court in Fort Worth, Texas, after listening to days of testimony in the case. Court documents show that in 2008, a woman accused the couple of sexual assault at their Ranch. They were later acquitted of the charges but comments on the case made in an Internet forum continued for months to come. Hundreds of false claims and statements about the couple were posted.

Eventually, a lawsuit was filed and a judge ordered that the company hosting the forum where the claims were made to disclose the Internet addresses of 178 posters. One of those addresses later came back to a business owned by a family member of the woman who had filed the sexual assault charges.

The Dallas Personal Injury Lawyers with Ferrer Poirot Feller Daniel would like to remind the public that making untrue statements about others is a form of bullying that can be considered a criminal offense if it causes someone else emotional harm.