Join The Discussion

 

26-story mixed-use tower planned at Taylor & Fifth in downtown Fort Worth

Jetta Operating Co., a 24-year-old privately held oil and gas company in Fort Worth, and a related entity plan a 26-story mixed-use tower downtown at Taylor and Fifth streets on a site once owned by the Star-Telegram.

read more >

UPDATE: Six candidates file for two Water Board seats

Six candidates have filed for the two open seats on the Tarrant Regional Water Board, setting up a battle that could potentially shift the balance of power on the board and the priorities of one of the largest water districts in Texas.

read more >

Fort Worth breaks ground on $8.6 million South Main renovation

Fort Worth Near Southsiders and city officials broke ground Monday on the 18-month rebuild of South Main Street between Vickery Boulevard and West Magnolia Avenue.

read more >

Fort Worth Chamber names Small Business of the Year winners

A trampoline recreation business; an oilfield services company; a longtime aviation maintenance firm; a maker of electrical wiring harnesses. Those were the wide variety of businesses that received the 2015 Small Business of the Year Award from the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce.

read more >

Body-camera maker has financial ties to former Fort Worth police chief, others

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Taser International, the stun-gun maker emerging as a leading supplier of body cameras for police, has cultivated financial ties to police chiefs whose departments have bought the recording devices, raising a host of conflict-of-interest questions.

read more >

 

Defamatory online posts revisited by Texas court


PAUL J. WEBER, Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — They say nothing on the Internet ever really goes away, but the Texas Supreme Court is considering whether defamatory postings might be worth the effort to try.

Justices on the state's highest civil court on Thursday weighed broader questions about cyberbullying, hate speech and the First Amendment while hearing a case with far lower stakes. At issue is whether a company can be forced to remove from its website damaging personal comments about a fired Austin businessman.

Lower courts already have ruled that Robert Kinney's former company, Los Angeles-based BCG Attorney Search, can't be forced to remove the comments, even if a judge or jury eventually finds it defamed Kinney on the company's website by accusing him of running a kickback scheme. That's because defamatory speech still has protections under the law.

But Kinney's attorneys told the nine-member court that it's time for Texas law to catch up with technology.

"It was a little harder to defame someone before the Internet. Now, on my cellphone, I can walk out of here and in five minutes I can say something defamatory about somebody and hit a button, and it's there worldwide," said Martin Siegel, Kinney's attorney. "And it's potentially there for perpetuity."

Anthony Ricciardelli, an attorney for BCG, said forcing the comments to be removed would "set a dangerous precedent that will have a chilling effect on speech and may lead to a slippery slope."

The court isn't expected to make a ruling for several months.

Justices asked both sides to consider more divisive cases involving cyberbullying or hate speech — whether a court should be able to issue orders to stop online antagonists from harassing others, for instance, even if no defamation was present.

Siegel said it's time for Texas to join a "modern rule" of decisions in five other states where injunctions against defamatory speech have been granted. The Kentucky Supreme Court in 2010 ruled in a case that the future speech of a party could be restrained so long its original comments were ruled defamatory.

Michael Fertik, the CEO and founder of reputation.com, said the broader problem of defamation in the digital age needs to be addressed. He said people need to be "giving a fighting chance" and pointed to how publishers can be forced to remove defamatory material from books before additional printings.

"There's a solution in the print world for that. In the online world, there is no solution," Fertik said.

Kinney now runs another legal recruiting firm in Texas and said the damage done by the comments "isn't breaking me." Courts likely would have let his case proceed if he was seeking financial damages from his old boss instead of having the online remarks erased, but Kinney says he wants to help others in similar situations.

"Hopefully it'll be a public service," he said.

 

< back

Email   email
hide
Catch
How 'bout them Cowboys?