Former Dallas judge and CourTV anchor Catherine Crier has filed a lawsuit against a John Doe who maliciously used a story about another female lawyer to defame Crier on wikipedia. The unknown individual took the facts about attorney Catherine Shelton and, by replacing the last name with Crier’s from a 2007 Dallas Morning News story, to suggest that Crier was accused of murder and had been convicted of shoplifting, served time, and was disbarred.
The poster is currently known only as “John Doe, a/k/a Internet Protocol Address 22.214.171.124.”
Crier insists that the false wikipedia entry resulted in “public hatred, contempt, and ridicule, by “impeach[ing] [her] honesty, integrity, virtue, and reputation.” This includes damages for “lost wages, emotional distress and mental anguish.”
These lawsuits are becoming more common as aggrieved individuals seek to strip away confidentiality protections to undercover malicious posters, see here and here. Generally, these website are viewed as protected from immunity under federal law, but by suing the John Doe, the website can be forced to turn over identifying information.
For the complaint, click CrierTV.
For the full story, click here.