Wisconsin Professor Sues Former Student Over Bad Evaluations Posted on the Internet

200px-University_of_Wisconsin-Whitewater_logoNo professor enjoys poor teaching evaluations but University of Wisconsin-Whitewater communications professor Sally Vogl-Bauer has taken a more aggressive approach. She has sued former student Anthony Llewellyn who took her class last year and wrote a scathing evaluation. She says that the evaluation contains untrue and defamatory statements, but the lawsuit raises troubling questions in the pursuit of a former student for expressing his opinion of a class and a teacher.


Llewellyn posted videos on YouTube and wrote comments on Blogger.com and TeacherComplaints.com. He wrote comments that said that Vogl-Bauer criticized his intellectual ability, treated him unfairly, and was the reason that he failed out of school. He also says that he spoke with Vogl-Bauer about these concerns two months before he was told that she had failed him.

Attorney Tim Edwards is representing Vogl-Bauer and says that the review was not an honest evaluation but “a concerted effort to attack somebody’s reputation because things didn’t go your way, that’s much different.” Llewellyn was asked to take down his comments and videos but refused. Vogl-Bauer then sued him for punitive damages and fees. The case has not been dismissed and will receive a jury trial in September.

Vogl-Bauer’s author bills her as an “award-winning teacher” and she has co-authored a book on “Interpersonal Communications.”

Llewellyn suggests that such interpersonal skills were lacking in alleged comments that he was a terrible student and did not belong in college. Vogl-Bauer calls such comments libel, plain and simple. The lawsuit charges that Llewellyn “engaged in an intentional, malicious and unprivileged campaign to defame Dr. Vogl-Bauer, resulting in substantial economic, reputational and emotional injuries.”

Llewellyn said that he tried to contact the school officials to object to what he called Vogl-Bauer’s “degrading, demeaning, verbally attacking” of him as well as various outside groups.

I have not been able to locate a copy of the complaint, but much of the quoted comments appear to fall into the category of opinion which is not actionable. There does not appear to be a question that the defendant was indeed in the class. Such opinion may be demeaning and degrading but still protected. My concern is that we have seen an increase in actions against people posting reviews of restaurants, hotels, and others on sites inviting reviews. The sites themselves are generally not liable for such comments but they have been hit with lawsuits to strip commenters of anonymity.

The question will come down to what is demonstrably untrue and what is merely an opinion.
The case reminds one of Mr. Chow of New York v. Ste. Jour Azur, 759 F.2d 219, (2d Cir. 1985), where a Chinese restaurant sued a food critic for a negative review. The reviewer made the following allegedly libelous comments:

(1) “It is impossible to have the basic condiments … on the table.”

(2) “The sweet and sour pork contained more dough … than meat.”

(3) “The green peppers … remained still frozen on the plate.”

(4) The rice was “soaking … in oil.”

(5) The Peking Duck “was made up of only one dish (instead of the traditional three).”

(6) The pancakes were “the thickness of a finger.”

The jury found for the restaurant and awarded $20,000 in compensatory and $5 in punitive damages. However, the court of appeals reversed and found that the statements were protected as “opinion.” Notably, the statement about the Peking Duck came closest in the court’s view since it was a factual statement, but the court still found that it would not support the verdict due to the absence of malice:

Because of the absence of evidence showing either that Bridault or Millau knew that Peking Duck was not traditionally served as three dishes or that they subjectively entertained serious doubts about the accuracy of the statement that it is traditionally served in three dishes, we cannot say that the existence of malice has been established by clear and convincing evidence. Thus, this statement cannot support the judgment entered below.

I do not see the Peking Duck comment in the coverage of this lawsuit but that is why it would be good to review the complaint.

Source: Gazette Extra

70 thoughts on “Wisconsin Professor Sues Former Student Over Bad Evaluations Posted on the Internet

  1. Often teacher evaluations by students are done with the results unexposed to the student body. At a big university, it is often important to know how you are going to interact with a particular professor. At my alma mater, the students started their own unofficial evaluation of professor, rating them on a variety of things. However, they did not include personal comments.
    I do know that complaining about either a grade or a professor does you no good at a university. At best you can embarrass them, but you cannot get them to change the grade. And any complaints just fall on deaf ears.
    I think that if the student did try to go through administrative channels, he would have had little luck.
    Then there is the matter of perceived damages. I cannot see how a tenured professor can come to financial harm. Additionally, if this was an Interpersonal Communication class, surely there was a failure to communicate to the satisfaction of both parties.

  2. According to Inside Higher Ed (http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/05/23/professor-sues-student-over-his-online-reviews-her-course), the student also sent written complaints about the professor to the Eastern Communication Association and to her colleagues in the department. It also says the student did not drop out of the university, but was dismissed.This is more than a simple negative review. The student was engaged in a widespread campaign against the professor, so the totality of his efforts must be taken into account. Unlike the Peking duck reviewer, this student is obviously motivated by malice and engaged in a vendetta.

  3. I saw the plaintiff’s attorney, Tim Edwards, interviewed on local news. He didn’t seem like the kind of attorney I would hire. He was too emotional for my tastes, really blasting the defendant. Not knowing the plaintiff or defendant, and not seeing the complaint, it’s difficult to evaluate. But, from what I can tell, the defendant kept his comments to 3 venues. It’s not like he was writing to every newspaper in Wi. or buying full page ads, trying to destroy the professor. The only judgment I would make is the professor seems a bit thin skinned, not unlike our President. Professors can be that way.

  4. Does it not harm the teacher’s reputation more to aggressively sue a former student because she did not like his review? I would be more put off by her actions than by one negative review.

    What seems better is for there to be a mechanism in place for these review sites to investigate and remove reviews that seem untrue or retaliatory.

    Does the school have a position about a professor suing one of its former students in such a way?

  5. The student sounds a bit off kilter, since corroborating evidence is absent showing that the teacher was toxic.

    But it appears that opinions and reviews can be costly. Now banksters and other money handlers are getting into the ‘don’t blame me’ game:

    Joseph and Neidin Henard thought they had finally fixed the mortgage that was crushing them.

    In January, the couple reached a settlement with every company that had a stake in the mortgage on their house in Santa Cruz, California, a deal that would have slashed their monthly payment by almost 40 percent to $3,337. It was the end of a process that started with their defaulting in 2009.

    But when they saw the final paperwork for their settlement, they found that Ocwen Financial Corp, the company that collected and processed their mortgage payments, had added an extra clause: they could not say or print or post anything negative about Ocwen, ever.

    The Henards’ experience was not unusual. Mortgage payment collectors at companies including Ocwen, Bank of America Corp and PNC Financial Services Group are agreeing to ease the terms of borrowers’ underwater mortgages, but they are increasingly demanding that homeowners promise not to insult them publicly, consumer lawyers say. In many cases, they are demanding that homeowners’ lawyers agree to the same terms. Sometimes, they even require borrowers to agree not to sue them again.

    These clauses can hurt borrowers who later have problems with their mortgage collector by preventing them from complaining publicly about their difficulties or suing, lawyers said. If a collector, known as a servicer, makes an error, getting everything fixed can be a nightmare without litigation or public outcry.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/21/us-banks-mortgages-insight-idUSBREA4K03U20140521

    Hush money by any other standard…..

  6. Nick – The student didn’t keep his comments to 3 venues. He complained to the university administration, he complained the Better Business Bureau, he posted a video on YouTube, he wrote a letter to the Eastern Communication Association, he sent an email to all her colleagues in the department, he wrote comments on Blogger.com (http://uwwhitewaterwarninggarbageuniversity.blogspot.com/2013/08/uw-whitewater-warning-garbage.html) and TeacherComplaints.com, he submitted a complaint to Ripoff Report (http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/university-of-wisconsin-whitewater/whitewater-wisconsin-53190-1790/university-of-wisconsin-whitewater-uw-whitewater-uw-whitewater-teachers-outrageous-lawsu-1146321), and he called her lawyer “dirty and incompetent” (http://warningabouttimothydedwards.blogspot.com/2014/03/serious-warning-about-lawyer-timothy-d.html). I think we need to look at the totality f this student’s campaign.

  7. We have all had whiney babies as students. I remember being told by a law student that I couldn’t possibly give the student a D as all of the student’s other grades were A’s. The entire exchange was done by email. There was a deep silence when I said the D was a gift. I am sure my evaluation by that student was not stellar.

  8. I had an issue with a grad student professor that gave me a C when it should have been an A. No problem, she wouldn’t change it because I rarely showed up to class. I talked to the Dean, she upped it to a B. I still not was not satisfied. I talked to my cousin, on the board of regents. It’s amazing how quickly the grade was changed.

    It is my understanding she switched from the business school to the college of RTF and finished her degree. Never had a problem again.

    Now with this case, I am sure that this one class was not why he got kicked out of college. It’s best to take responsibility for ones actions and not do stupid like this student. Say that she gets a judgment, is the kid collectable? Or is all she wants is the stuff taken down, she probably has a good chance.

  9. The lesson being taught here is perhaps not what the professor thinks they are teaching. “Call me bad names and I will sue you!” One has to wonder why the teacher is taking these comments from a failed student so seriously.

  10. Good Lord!

    We have issues of vulgarity police;
    and now that of blogging/critic authoritarianism.

    Next thing you know, Romney will sue me for being a pain in his ——

    100 years from now, you’ll have permission to raise your hand at 9:15 am only

    If you do it at 9:16 am, the Time Police, will go to civil war with the raised hand out of sync Police; and will not see any blogs about such

    because the Blog Police will have been the one
    who raised the hand at 9;16 am!

  11. Darren, Wi has no anti-SLAPP law on the books. Some have tried, including Newspaper Associations. But no success yet.

  12. Nick – The student didn’t keep his comments to 3 venues, and yes, he was trying to destroy her. He complained to the university administration, he complained to the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission, he posted 4 videos on YouTube, he wrote a letter to the Eastern Communication Association, he sent an email to every colleague of hers in the department, he wrote tirades on 4 different Blogger.com blogs, he submitted a complaint to Ripoff Report (http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/university-of-wisconsin-whitewater/whitewater-wisconsin-53190-1790/university-of-wisconsin-whitewater-uw-whitewater-uw-whitewater-teachers-outrageous-lawsu-1146321), and he called her lawyer “dirty and incompetent” (http://warningabouttimothydedwards.blogspot.com/2014/03/serious-warning-about-lawyer-timothy-d.html). In his rants, the student has urged readers to not buy her book, and the direct result is a 1-star review of it on Amazon. Mr Keebler is on target when he says that the single course this student took with this professor was not likely to be the only reason for his departure from the university. Commenters should read some of the student’s screeds before opining. [Apologize if this comment is a duplicate. The spam filter apparently ate my earlier one, probably because of too many URLs.]

  13. Justice Holmes – the current president did not happen to work at your school did he? I am sure he was guilty of inflating grades since he really knows little or nothing about the Constitution.

  14. Oxa, Great comment, thanks. As I said earlier, Timothy Edwards, the plaintiffs attorney, was very harsh on the defendant. Edwards did not mention he too was “reviewed” by the defendant. Complaints filed and letters written to agencies in my mind, and I believe in the courts mind, different than making anonymous posts castigating someone.

    On a personal note, I can certainly relate to the vindictive review on Amazon. I have a woman who stalks me. My wife has 2 books on Amazon. This vile stalker posted a review, crazily written, alleging I sexually abused my daughter, that my wife ignored it, and that my daughter is obese because of it. Amazon took it down quickly. Then, this crazy stalker posted a review alleging I was a stalker and my wife an abuse victim. That was also taken down. So, now the review is that my wife is a terrible writer. It’s laughable because the crazy woman says the same for both books!! If the first was so horrible, why would you buy and read the second.

    So, Oxa, you have swayed me. I still would like to read the complaint. But, your superb comment makes me lean significantly toward the plaintiff. That said, I think she still has a tough road. I am VERY EMPATHETIC to her plight.

  15. keebler – it is not what you know but who you know. If I had a hook in the board of regents for my university I could have had one of my idiot professors fired for incompetence. However, I didn’t and couldn’t. Nepotism always has an upside.

  16. It is the usual story these days…If you have “Sweet things to say” you can speak all you want. If you criticize, then you are “Cut-off”. I found that out some time ago, when I complained to both Democrat and Republican Politicians about “Police” profiling/discrimination with (evidence)…..NO RESPONSE.

    “Article II of the “Bill of Rights” = Liberty’s Teeth”- General George Washington…Revolutionary War 1776.

  17. Paul,

    Let’s just say, I didn’t pull that card until I had to. Something that I thought was interesting is I was on the Presidents Advisory Board for a year. Never figured out why.

  18. This one’s tough because of the student’s extensive campaign against the prof. I would hope that if the court (jury?) finds against the defendant, the court includes a caution that the finding doesn’t mean reasonable opinion can be suppressed capriciously.

  19. ” I talked to my cousin, on the board of regents”

    Privileged much?

    The syllabus of the classes I went to all stated plainly that attendance was expected and that my grade would reflect whether I was there or not. Why should the teacher expect the people enrolled in the class to show up and participate?

  20. Pale Scot,

    Syllabus, stated what was needed for a grade in that class. No where was it stated that attendance was mandatory or grade would be affected by lack of attendance. What needed to get done got done and on a timely fashion. Since it was basically a grad class, they like to cut the number down. I suppose she figured I was a good target. You know that bell curve they don’t grade on. Sometimes it’s forced distribution.

  21. Pale Scot – I do remember a graduate class in which only 3 of us were enrolled and we all decided to take a mental health day. The professor was not a happy camper.

  22. The student says he had a disability and was targeted because of it. As someone with a Masters, a learning disability, awards, patents etc… and the memory of a professor asking if anyone who had to do state tables as colored blocks – me – belonged in the university, have to say his claim is not unreasonable. The student may want to contact a disability rights attorney and make sure no one else suffers the same fate..

  23. I am the attorney who represents the professor in this case. Unfortunately, the title of this article is inaccurate and misleading. My client is not suing for a negative evaluation from a student. Please get your facts straight.

  24. Also Mr Edwards – How was the student’s disability issue addressed? Was he offered reasonable accommodations and treated appropriately? Or was the student denied accommodations, singled out and harassed for being different ?

  25. Julieann, I took some course @ UW Whitewater when I was obtaining my teaching credentials in the ’90’s. They are uber disabled friendly. They had one of the best wheelchair basketball teams in the Midwest when I attended.

  26. Mr. Edwards, I believe that your objection is to the words “bad evaluation” which I believe is fair without taking sides on the merits. However, we would be interested in posting your complaint if you want to send it to me. That would certainly give your client’s side of this dispute in a full and complete context.

  27. I am not sure what Nick is referring to, and would invite him to corroborate his observations. It seems that it would have been prudent to review the complaint, which is a public record, along with the defendant’s statements, before mischaracterizing this as a case about student evaluations or reviews. Moreover, statements of opinion can be actionable, under certain circumstances, at least in Wisconsin. Oxa has identified the crux of the dispute, at least in part. As you will see, this case is not about a student’s right to provide evaluations of instructor ability or conduct. Thank you.

  28. Tim – you can post the complaint as a pdf for the rest of us instead of taking pot shots at commentors.

  29. Mr.Edwards, certain commenters do not corroborate comments, ever. We’ve often asked them to link to sources to back up their assertions, to no avail. They just continue to make uncorroborated allegations.

  30. I am not taking pot shots at commentators; I am questioning the accuracy of the information posted by the author, which is the purpose of this section following the article that allows for comments.

  31. Annie – I would agree. But who would that be? At this point, Mr. Edwards, who claims to be the plaintiff’s attorney, would be able to supply a copy of the complaint. Or, Annie, would you like to track it down and post it for us?

  32. Mr. Edwards

    Annie is correct. Sadly, “I invite you to corroborate your observations” is a phrase that will likely not produce any response.

  33. Paul, being impatient and demanding Mr. Edwards supply you with the complaint, won’t get you what you want. Stomp your feet, maybe that will help. In the meantime Professor Turley has offered him a means of communication.

  34. Annie – I offered you a chance to find the complaint, as well. I see you have not taken me up on my offer.

  35. Mr. Edwards, If you read my comment AFTER Oxa made his, I think you will see I amended my previous remarks. My amended comment is @ 11:58a. My amended comment, after analyzing the information Oxa provided, shows a fundamental change in my opinion. When I saw you interviewed on one of the local Madison stations, you were emotional. I have no problem w/ emotion, I’m Italian. But, it just didn’t seem appropriate. However, after reading the information provided by Oxa, I see how the defendant also came after you! Now, I understand your emotion. I attempted to convey my empathy by giving an example of how a stalker came after myself and my family on Amazon, making vile comments about us in a “review” of her book. My first comment provided the caveat that I did not have enough information. More information was provided and I made a more informed analysis. If I were a juror during my first comment, based on limited “facts,” I was leaning toward the defendant. After being provided more “fact” I lean now toward your client.

    We have many discussions here on anonymity and the internet. I am on record as understanding anonymity, but not liking it. Both here and everywhere I read comments, if you attach you real name to something you are more prudent. Bomb throwers love anonymity. I never use an alias.

  36. Mr. Edwards, I too would extend you an invitation to comment here. My daughter practices law in Madison and works for the state, I’m fairly certain you’d know her.

  37. It’s pretty laughable all this monkey chatter, and then the guillotine comes down. These defamation of character laws need to be abolished, pure and simple. To think people actually listen to reviews, conjecture, rely on word-of-mouth, and so on makes my skin crawl. All anybody needs to do is look at the history and results.

  38. Yelp make billions of dollars because people depend upon their reviews. And, they are vigilant in deleting reviews w/ an agenda. The integrity of their reviews are critical to their success. Smart people read reviews, but always w/ a skeptical eye.

  39. The complaint is not available on the Wi. court records online website. But, I do note the defendant is representing himself.

  40. It’s counter-productive. When people are afraid to speak out due to an overly litigious climate, everyone suffers.

  41. Finally, another commenter looks at the state court site (public, online, easy to find), as the author and every other media outlet could have done, but I have yet to see one commit such an act of journalism — and although the complaint is not there, much else is that is informative. The suit was filed many months ago. Why is it news now? Because the former student (yes, representing himself) has refused, also for many months, to comply with the standard request to be deposed about his claims, all over the internet and even more extensively than noted above by another commenter; see also blogs, websites, etc., created with the pseudonym, which he admits is him, of a “Barry Grunder.” That is a wide-ranging campaign not to be sniffed at, here and elsewhere, as a standard class evaluation. And there are statements that are obviously untrue, as anyone who ever has looked at a college catalog could know — and as also can be ascertained with a click on the campus website. (No, one C does not mean dismissal from the program; he clearly had to have had poor grades in other courses,) This is news now only because the court had to order him to comply with the deposition — although, again, none of the news coverage has said so — or risk contempt of court for refusing to say, under oath, what he has claimed on the internet. Or, of course, he could do as the professor asked even more months ago and take down the websites, videos, etc. After all, the suit asks only for some hundreds of dollars, hardly the usual in a defamation suit, so clearly intended to get him to just cease and desist. (By the way, to the commenter claiming that the former student has a disability, I did not see that in skimming several of these posts and sites that came up in a search. I did see that he says that he has a disabled sibling. And, of course, disability accommodations do not include the right to defamation.)

  42. ggmcbride – this puts us at odds with Tim Edwards who came on claiming to be the plaintiff’s attorney and who said we could get the complaint online. He was offered the opportunity by Prof Turley to supply the complaint, but to this point has not done so. You are making the claim that the complaint is NOT available online which makes either you or Tim Edwards suspect. Who should we believe?

  43. 1. If you look at the state court site, as well as other sources, you will see that is the name of the oplaintiff’s attorney and 2. That he says thecsame thing elsewhere to correct poor reporting, which suggests that the poster probably is the plaintiff’s attorney. 3. If you look at what I posted, you will see that I did not make the claim that you claim that I did; the complaint is not at the state court site, that I can see, but it well may be online. I am not a lawyer, nor do I know legal research. However, you clearly are a prosecutor or have a prosecutorial bent, so do share how and where to search online for the complaint, and I will be happy to click a computer mousiest for you.

  44. I think Professor Streisand could learn something from Doctor Streisand’s hindsight,

    Insult And Injury: How Doctors Are Losing The War Against Trolls
    BuzzFeed – Jake Rossen

    David McKee, M.D., a Duluth, Minn., neurologist, was unaware of the Streisand phenomenon at the time he decided to sue Dennis Laurion. Laurion’s father, Kenneth, had suffered a stroke in April 2010; McKee was called in to assess Kenneth’s condition.

    According to the Laurions, McKee was oblivious to Kenneth’s modesty. “His son was right there,” McKee counters. “If he was concerned about the gown, he didn’t get out of his chair to tie it.”

    Dennis Laurion consulted with his family to see if his impression of the arrogant doctor was real or imagined. He fired off a dozen or more letters to a variety of medical institutions, including the hospital’s ombudsman, the Minnesota Board of Medical Practice, Medicare, and the American Medical Association.

    McKee sued Laurion for defamation. A local Duluth newspaper picked up on the story, favoring Laurion’s interpretation of events.

    In April 2011, the judge granted Laurion’s motion for summary judgment, ruling his comments were protected free speech. A user on Reddit.com posted the newspaper story. Almost overnight, dozens of “reviews” popped up on RateMDs.com and other sites with outlandish commentary on McKee, who was referred to as “the dickface doctor of Duluth.”

    McKee found no easy way to exit the situation. “You get drawn in,” he says, suggesting his lawyer nudged him into further action. “It’s throwing good money after bad. … I wanted out almost as soon as I got in, and it was always, ‘Well, just one more step.’” McKee appealed, and the summary judgment was overturned. The case, and the measurable impact of being labeled a “real tool,” was now headed for the Minnesota Supreme Court.

    McKee was rated for several years as a top provider in Duluth Superior Magazine, but “From now until the end of time, I’ll be the jerk neurologist who was rude to a World War II veteran,” the physician says. “I’m stuck with it forever.”

  45. A few facts to clarify for an earlier poster:

    1) Both NBC 15 and CBS 3 reported the student stated that he had a learning disability and that the professor harrassed and belittled him every time they were alone.

    2) In graduate school a C is failing. My docterates program I need at least B’s in core work and am allowed ONLY two BCs in pheripheral classes

    3) Defamation is not an accomodation. It is a court ruling and based on similar cases (see gradual student) not the most likely outcome here. If someone believes another to be truely dangerous or unprofessional contacting their professional society, posting on rating boards etc is reasonable ant the ethical choice.

    4) If the student had taken his problems with the professor to the appropriote authorities and talked to the campus disability office it could well be the professor in the dock (figuratively) or the student and the professor could have been heled to work it out,

  46. Thanks, Julie Anne, for the media sources — although the sources for their statements, the videos, are posted under names other than that of the defendant. If ever he agrees to be deposed, then we will see, yes, if ever he filed with the campus disability office and if it had recommendations that the professor did not follow — although they are only recommendations, past the K12 level — and if any recommendations were relevant to the coursework in question. Of course, if he did not file with the disability office, the professor “could well be in the dock” in violation of state policy and federal law for provisions for one student not granted to other students. As for a C in graduate school: Again, see the campus policy, which apparently differs from the policy for the program for your doctorate (sp), whether for core courses or peripherals (sp) aka electives. The policy on other campuses is not relevant — although the policy at the campus in question is fairly common. That policy has no provisions for dismissal based on a grade of C. The policy requires a GPA of B, so it would take more than one poor grade even to be put on probation. For a C to cause dismissal, the student had to already be on probation for poor grades in a previous semester or semesters and then had to continue to earn poor grades. That the defendant continues, across many videos, blogs, websites, and more, to misstate such facts and many others does not suggest credibility re the anonymous statement of a disability — but, again, if ever he complies with the court order to be deposed, we will see.

  47. As one of the “trolls” detailed in the BuzzFeed article about David McKee MD v Dennis Laurion, I have no issue with the accuracy of the text – at least as it pertains to me during the case David McKee MD v. Dennis Laurion – but the tone of the title fails to distinguish sincere complaints about bedside manner from attacks on mental stability, attacks on medical prowess, fake websites, allegations of dangerous injections, and use of multiple identities. The author said “McKee and Laurion agree on substance…”

    While being sued for defamation, I have been called a passive aggressive, an oddball, a liar, a coward, a bully, a malicious person, and a zealot family member. I’ve been said to have run a cottage industry vendetta, posting 108 adverse Internet postings in person or through proxies. That’s not correct. In reality, I posted ratings at three consumer rating sites, deleted them, and never rewrote them again.

    No: The plaintiff’s first contact with me was a letter that said in part that he had the means and motivation to pursue me. The financial impact of being sued three years to date has been burdensome, a game of financial attrition that I haven’t wanted to play. The suit cost me the equivalent of two year’s net income – the same as 48 of my car payments plus 48 of my house payments. My family members had to dip into retirement funds to help me.

    After receipt of a threat letter, I deleted my rate-your-doctor site postings and sent confirmation emails to opposing counsel. Since May of 2010, postings on the Internet by others include newspaper accounts of the lawsuit; readers’ remarks about the newspaper accounts; and blog opinion pieces written by doctors, lawyers, public relations professionals, patient advocates, and information technology experts. Dozens of websites by doctors, lawyers, patient advocates, medical students, law schools, consumer advocates, and free speech monitors posted opinions that a doctor or plumber shouldn’t sue the family of a customer for a bad rating. These authors never said they saw my deleted ratings – only the news coverage.

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  49. Sally Vogl-Bauer, David McKee, MD V. Dennis Laurion has precedent become.

    David McKee, MD V. Dennis Laurion (Minnesota Supreme Court Case Number A11-1153) was in United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, Case Number 12-3625, Dave THOMAS v. UNITED STEELWORKERS LOCAL 1938 and so further, cited.

    [[ Dave Thomas appealed the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of United Steelworkers Local 1938 (Local 1938); United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union (USW); and Jon Malek on Thomas’s state-law defamation claim arising out of a fact-finding meeting concerning a workplace dispute. In affirming the dismissal, the United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, Decision, filed February 20, 2014 stated:

    [[ To satisfy the falsity element of a defamation claim under Minnesota law, “a plaintiff must make an initial demonstration that there is a material dispute as to the truth or falsity of the statements at issue,” Weinberger v. Maplewood Review, 668 N.W.2d 667, 680 (Minn.2003), and “ ‘[o]nly statements that present or imply the existence of fact that can be proven true or false are actionable.’ “ Gacek v. Owens & Minor Distrib., Inc., 666 F.3d 1142, 1147 (8th Cir.2012) (alteration in original) (quoting Schlieman, 637 N.W.2d at 308). For instance, “[i]f it is plain that the speaker is expressing a ‘subjective view, an interpretation, a theory, conjecture, or surmise,’ rather than claiming to be in possession of ‘objectively verifiable facts,’ the statement is not actionable.” Id. (quoting Schlieman, 637 N.W.2d at 308). Whether a statement is an opinion or fact is a matter of law, Lund v. Chi. & Nw. Transp. Co., 467 N.W.2d 366, 369 (Minn.Ct.App.1991), but “the truth or falsity of a statement is inherently within the province of a jury.” Kuechle v. Life’s Companion P.C.A., Inc., 653 N.W.2d 214, 218 (Minn.Ct.App.2002). “ ‘[T]rue statements, however disparaging, are not actionable.’ “ McKee v. Laurion, 825 N.W.2d 725, 730 (Minn.2013)

    [[ We agree with the district court that Malek’s statements that “Thomas is a prick,” “he is tired of [Thomas’s] crap,” and he “is not going to put up with his sh-anymore” are all statements of Malek’s subjective view or opinion and, by themselves, are not actionable as a matter of law. See McKee v. Laurion, 825 N.W.2d at 733; see also Lund, 467 N.W.2d at 369 (holding that statements at issue were protected expressions of opinion because they lacked specificity and precision, and the factual implications concerning such statements were unclear). We do not, however, agree with the district court’s conclusion as it relates to the remaining statements.

    [[ Although we are aware that Minnesota courts have held “[m]inor inaccuracies do not amount to falsity so long as the substance, the gist, the sting,” of the defaming statement can be justified, McKee v. Laurion, 825 N.W.2d at 730 (internal quotation marks omitted)), the inaccuracies here are substantial enough to create a genuine dispute of material fact as to their truth. ]]

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  51. Sally Vogl-Bauer isn’t the only teacher drawing attention for suing students.

    “Texas teacher sues two students for defamation”
    Posted By Kristen Butler, UPI

    (UPI) — High school English teacher Elizabeth Ethredge has filed suit against two students claiming she was suspended and may be fired because they told the principal that she had asked her class to stalk a suspected thief on Facebook. Ethredge claims she was giving an “oral storytelling” lesson in November 2012 when she told her class an anecdote about her son having personal property stolen at a high school in another district, reports Courthouse News Service.

    The complaint states that Ethredge “mentioned to her students that they might be able to help recover her son’s property.” She invited any student with a Facebook account to help by messaging the suspected thief to try and purchase the stolen item from him.

    Ethredge claims the two students only brought it up months later, in March of this year, when she sent them to the principal’s office for disruptive behavior and a dress code violation.

    “Defendants wrote statements about the oral storytelling exercise that were clearly retaliatory in nature, designed to take the focus off of their inappropriate behavior and to instead focus the principal’s attention on plaintiff,” the complaint states.

    As further evidence of the students’ alleged “deliberate and malicious intent to injure plaintiff’s reputation,” the complaint shows that one student posted a message to Facebook during school hours that said, “Hey Ethredge, “I threw stones at your house” what you got for me big bada**? Case closed!”

    The second student named in the suit commented on the post, saying “Hahahahah [expletive] ain’t got [expletive]!”

    Days after the cited Facebook posts, the Board of Trustees of the Waller Independent School District proposed termination of Ethredge’s employment.

    Ethredge seeks punitive damages for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

  52. Elizabeth Ethredge has done her own social media review and rating.
    She said this about a restaurant:

    This was a group of prom students that had a horrible experience. The room has peeling wall paper and the table was nasty. They couldn’t figure out how to get the bill split for them and made the group an hour late to prom!!! For what they paid, this was not a night to remember for the best. The group reservation was to include a surprise for my son’s birthday. OMG, the catering supervisor called and asked him what he would like to do! Sum surprise. This is also the person that called an hour before he was to leave and told me she forgot to run my card for the deposit. So, I have talked to the head chef. He is going to have the Gen. Manager call me. We will see what they would like to do to fix this debacle.

    Posted at https://plus.google.com/116278443587676915828/about

  53. Sally Vogel-Bauer apparently had her pre-trial hearing AUG 20, 2014. Anthony Llewellyn now has three lawyers, Andrew Price, Kate E. Maternowski, and Laura Brenner . Jury trial is scheduled for SEP 15 – SEP 17, 2014, in the Walworth County Judicial Center Courtroom of the Honorable Phillip A Koss.

    Visit http://wcca.wicourts.gov/index.xsl . Click agree.
    On next page enter name = Llewellyn,
    County = Walworth,
    Case Number = 2013CV001140.

    You’ll see suit history and public data about Sally Vogl-Bauer and Anthony Llewellyn.

  54. UPDATE . . . UPDATE

    IS A SETTLEMENT IN THE WORKS FOR VOGL-BAUER V. LLEWELLYN?

    Anthony Llewellyn now has three lawyers, Andrew Price, Kate E. Maternowski, and Laura Brenner . Jury trial is still scheduled for SEP 15 – SEP 17, 2014, in the Walworth County Judicial Center Courtroom of the Honorable Phillip A Koss; however, it is hard to find any of Anthony Llewellyn’s videos online. IS HE TAKING THE VIDEOS DOWN?

    Sally Vogl-Bauer apparently had her pre-trial hearing AUG 20, 2014. It is no longer listed on the pending court docket.

    Visit http://wcca.wicourts.gov/index.xsl . Click agree.

    On next page enter name = Llewellyn,

    County = Walworth,

    Case Number = 2013CV001140.

    You’ll see suit history and public data about Sally Vogl-Bauer and Anthony Llewellyn.

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