Texas Supreme Court
Thu January 9, 2014
Texas Supreme Court Ruling In Online Defamation Case Could Set Precedent Statewide
The Texas Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Thursday and decide whether defamatory comments can be forcibly removed from the Internet. The suit is a first of its kind for the state’s highest court and challenges whether the Texas Constitution is sufficient for the 21st century.
Robert Kinney said Andrew Harrison Barnes, his former employer, posted false and defamatory statements about him online. Court documents show that after Kinney resigned, his former boss posted comments on a couple of his business websites suggesting Kinney had been involved in a kickback and bribery scheme.
A lower court ruled that the comments could remain on the site, saying that to remove them would violate freedom of speech. Kinney is now asking the Texas Supreme Court to reverse that ruling.
If it does reverse the lower court's ruling, it would give courts throughout the state power to remove any false statements posted on the internet. A decision is expected sometime this summer.