$500,000 Defamation Settlement for a Facebook Comment

According to a report in the ABA Journal, a woman has agreed to pay $500,000 to settle a defamation suit over a comment she made on Facebook that allegedly implied a onetime rival had caused the death of her child. 

The case reportedly resulted from a disagreement between two North Carolina women who originally were cooperating in an effort to take control of a local low-wattage radio station. They had a falling out and eventually the toxic dispute moved online. According to the report, one of the women made a comment on Facebook regarding the other that "I didn't get drunk and kill my kid", implying that the other woman had done so.

The comment was particularly harmful to the other woman because her son was killed by an accidental shooting while playing with another child in the 1970s. 

And while the comment at issue does seem pretty nasty, a $500,000 defamation settlement in a case like this is pretty remarkable. As is often the case with settlements, one wonders if there were other issues motivating the parties that did not make the news reports.

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