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Wisconsin appeals court upholds Facebook defamation judgment

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MADISON — A Wisconsin appeals court has upheld a judgment against a man accused of defaming a college lecturer on Facebook.

According to court documents, John Beckett posted remarks in 2010 calling Stephen Laughland, a lecturer at Milwaukee-area colleges, a low-life swindler. Beckett posted the comments to impress his girlfriend, who was going through a custody battle with Laughland.

The lecturer sued Beckett in 2012 and won $25,000. Beckett argued on appeal that the statute of limitations barred the lawsuit and his statements were based on public records.

The 1st District Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that the statute of limitations hadn’t expired and Beckett’s comments were based on speculation about the meaning of bankruptcy and collection actions several banks had filed against Laughland.

Beckett’s lawyer didn’t immediately return a message.

1 Comment

  • Brian

    25,000 for a few mostly harmless comments online? That seems quite unfair and way to steep of a price to be forced to pay

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