No Factual Statement, No Defamation

Why do people bring claims like this? Pamela Greenbaum, a member of the Lawrence, N.Y. school board, sought from Google the identity of the anonymous creator of the Orthomom blog, which Google hosts on Blogger. Greenbaum, who opposes use of public school funds to benefit private-school students, claims the blogger defamed her. The offending statement? “Way [for Greenbaum] to make it clear that you have no interest in helping the private school community.” Greenbaum claims this statement paints her as anti-semitic–a preposterous interpretation. Because Greenbaum’s claim is so weak the court refused to unmask the author.

Greenbaum’s case is not a close call. Defamation requires an untrue statement of fact. Opinions do not constitute defamation. They cannot be proven or disproven. One wonders whether Greenbaum’s lawyer advised her to proceed with such a thin case.

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