FEBRUARY 1, 2013
“Our View: Online Opinion Case Lasted Too Long“
Bob Jentges, Mankato Free Press
Thumbs up, to the Minnesota Supreme Court for ruling that making disparaging remarks about a doctor online does not open someone to being sued for defamation.
Dr. David McKee filed a lawsuit against Dennis Laurion after Laurion posted remarks on a rate-your-doctor website. Laurion thought his father wasn’t treated as well as he should be by the doctor and said so. Among other things, the doctor was referred to as “a tool,” as in a foolish man.
It’s puzzling why McKee’s defamation lawsuit — filed nearly four years ago — was still in court. It’s long been established that people may spout any opinion they want without fear of being sued. It’s different from knowingly telling a lie about someone in order to harm their reputation or business.
The high court, in throwing out the doctor’s defamation suit, pointed out that you can’t prove if someone is or is not “a tool.”
It’s unsettling that the Appeals Court earlier ruled to allow the suit to continue.