Sheila Regan, Daily Planet, here.
Regan had some of the better extensive coverage of the litigation pre-trial, and did a couple of live-blogging posts with Daily Planet during the opening days of trial that were informative. This time, Regan reports things well, as before. She contacted both Hoff and his attorney, Paul Godfread, for comment, and unsuccessfully attempted to reach plaintiff Moore's attorney for comment, before filing her report.
Earlier, if my memory is correct, Regan had spoken with and reported about John Borger, attorney for the amicus press association that was backing the Hoff/Johnny Northside litigation position. Having a concerned amicus had to have been helpful in demonstrating to the public and the judiciary that this was not a routine case but one of importance to concerned community members not directly involved in the litigation.
One thing, a detail, Regan opened her report, "It turns out that you can’t get sued for telling the truth after all."
Well, I know exactly what Regan meant, and the word "successfully" is implicit.
However, one bell-ringing truth none of us should disregard - You can be sued by any idiot with a grudge and the filing fee, and a lawyer who will file the papers or the idiot can always file pro se.
Moore v. Hoff was a lawsuit that never should have been filed.
Prior to Hoff's being sued over having influence in plaintiff Jerry Moore's job loss, it was never entirely clear what the actual employer-employee situation was since reporting at pretrial times is that the Moore job was a temp job that had run its term, and that Hoff did not actually get Moore fired. That was the public story reps of the employer stated to reporters.
Jill Clark, Moore's attorney, never called the employer's direct supervisor of Moore to prove Hoff culpable in the dismissal; and we can presume that was because she and Moore did not care much for what the supervisor might have testified.
Beyond that, Moore lost a prior short job with a Wells Fargo bank branch because City Pages wrote of his past, much the same as Hoff did, but Moore and his lawyer did not pursue that deep pocket, but instead elected to chase the less-deep pocked of John Hoff, who lacked resources to litigate to protect himself of the level Wells Fargo and City Pages could commit. Chasing Hoff appears to have been a tactical step, apart from any strategic differences between Hoff and City Pages.
So, apart from John Hoff's litigation story; bottom line; for any reason or no reason, you too can be served with papers.
I never forget that reality in my online writing. And I always would want anyone with a complaint to seek to convince me I wrote in error and that I should retract, edit, or remove.
In one instance I encountered a "speed bump" over a wholly insignificant post about a now wholly insignificant person that I wrote on Crabgrass (where I was subsequently advised by a seasoned blog author I respect and trust that I should willingly remove a part of my complained-of post). The same seasoned "expert" also told me that in turn the person unhappy with me should have sought a retraction directly instead of pursuing the incredibly bizarre court calendar avenue she had chosen. One that still astounds me. That's enough detail of that war story, for now at least.
I give a sidebar contact email address, asking that complaints be addressed that way. Also, in a recent instance where I in turn have a complaint of how another person spoke of me, I have "practiced what I preach" with a demand for a retraction sent and pending. It is how any civilized person should operate, without running like a truly aggrieved person to court first with super silly stuff on some ex parte calendar. Anyone with actual sound cause to complain; for a multitude of reasons, (not the least of which are cost and grief and blowback potentials of litigation), should seek a corrective remedy short of resort to the judiciary when an extrajudicial resolution of a disagreement appears at all feasible.