Why Blogger Crystal Cox Lost A $2.5 Million Defamation Lawsuit
[Image credit: Crystalcox.com]
This past week a debate was fueled across the Internet due to a $2.5 million lawsuit that was awarded to an investment firm for defamation by a blogger. People were worried that the freedom of speech of bloggers have been questioned by the government because according to Oregon law, Cox was not considered a journalists because she was not affiliated with a newspaper, news service, pamphlet, broadcast station, etc. But it turns out that Cox did not just write mean things about the investment firm on her blog, she created a full hate campaign on the Internet.
When you search Google for Obsidian Financial Group, you will find many websites discussing the companies unethical practices on domain names like obsidianfinancialsucks.com, bankruptcytrustfraud.com, realestatelies.com, and realestatehoax.com. All of those websites were created by Cox. As a matter of fact, Cox created dozens of websites like this. This isn’t the work of a journalist, but the work of someone that was intently trying to destroy the reputation of another person or company.
This has been happening over the past 3 years. Cox had even contacted Obsidian and offered them “reputation services.” Cox almost got away with it because most of what she had written about was purely opinion, but one blog post had specific allegations about Obsidian’s firm principal Kevin Padrick committing fraud. Cox said she had a source, but it turns out her claims were false so she was found guilty of defamation. Obsidian asked for $1 million, but the jury awarded them $2.5 million.
“She has decimated my business. It’s half of what it was,” stated Padrick. “She’s ruined my reputation, my life.” Cox still has been unable to prove at trial what she had written was true. Had she been able to prove Padrick indeed committed fraud, she would not have been charged. What does this mean for bloggers? Before you make accusations against another person, make sure that you get your facts straight and have proof. Every time I write an article, I tried to include at least one source.
[Forbes]This article was written by Amit Chowdhry. You can follow me at @amitchowdhry or on Google+ at +AmitChowdhry