Former Bengal Cheerleader Sarah Jones
Former Ben-Gal Sarah Jones successfully sued theDirty.com publisher Nik Richie for rumors posted on his website. She was awarded over $300,000 by a Kentucky jury on the civil suit. The case will be heard today by the Federal Appellate court in Cincinnati. What’s at issue, and why the case is being watched by internet publishers everywhere, is the liability of the website for content that was not posted by theDirty, rather by internet commentors. The appellate decision will have far-reaching implications for internet publisher’s potential liability for third-party contributors. A decision probably won’t be handed down for several months.
Jones also made news for her relationship with a student for whom she was a teacher. She was convicted of a related misdemeanor in that case. Crimcourts has had extensive coverage of the Jones cases: https://crimcourts.wordpress.com/category/ohio/sarah-jones/
UPDATE: Cincinnati.com has more on the 1st Amendment implications of the court’s decision on this case.
Posted in Civil, Criminal Law, Federal, First Amendment, Ohio, Sarah Jones
Tagged bengals, cheerleader, cincinnati, defamation, kentucky, nik richie, sarah jones, sexcrime, thedirty
Former Bengals Cheerleader Sarah Jones
Former Ben-Gal Sarah Jones, (a cheerleader for the Cincinnati Bengals), won her defamation suit today in Federal Court in Northern Kentucky. The jury awarded her $338,000.00 for the harm to her reputation. The case is extremely noteworthy from a tech and journalistic point of view, because the judge ruled that thedirty.com and operator Nik Richie were not immune from liability for third-party comments. The judge distinguished the site because Richie solicited the comments and responded with more of his own. Essentially, the court found that he could be liable since he was involved in the comments, and the jury found him liable as well. However, the jury did not award Ms. Jones the multimillion-dollar verdict that Jones’ attorney Eric Deters asked for with the intent of putting the website out of business. Collecting on this judgment will still be a challenge for Jones and Deters.
Former Ben-Gal, Sarah Jones, is going back to court in her defamation suit against thedirty.com. The case went to trial several months ago, and ended in a hung jury. The second trial starts over from scratch, and promises to ratchet up the excitement. Among Ms. Jones’ witnesses are former Bengal kicker Shayne Graham, while thedirty has listed her ex-husband and the detective who investigated her criminal case. Additionally, her attorney Eric Deters is fighting a suspension for unrelated sanctions by the bar. Since he is challenging the suspension, he is still able to practice law and try the case. It’s got everything: sex, pro sports, and betrayal. Jones’ attorney is asking for a judgment large enough to shut down the website, but has the substantial task of proving harm to the reputation of his client, whose reputation has suffered major public setbacks. It should be fun to follow.