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$60,000 Judgment against a Blogger Overruled by Minnesota State Court of Appeals
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On Monday, the Minnesota State Court of Appeals reversed a $ 60,000 judgment against controversial blogger John Hoff. In its opinion, the Court of appeals states that Hoff’s speech was protected under the Constitution even though he was trying to get the plaintiff, Moore, fired from his job. The court of appeals observed, “We therefore conclude that there is too great a risk in infringing on Hoff’s constitutional right to publish this information if he is held liable for Moore’s subsequent employment termination.”

The lawsuit in the matter was filed in 2009 after Hoff blogged about Jerry Moore, who was the former head of a North Minneapolis neighborhood group. Hoff blogged about Moore after Moore was fired  from his previous post and started life in a new job with the University of Minnesota.

Hoff brought to public notice that Moore, while working as the head of the neighborhood group, had been implicated in a high-profile mortgage fraud scheme. Following this disclosure, the university fired Moore from his job. Moore sued Hoff for defamation and interfering with his employment.

  
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The defamation claim was dismissed by a jury last year, but the jury held that Hoff had, in fact, interfered with Moore’s employment and awarded Moore a sum of $ 60,000. Hoff won in appeal, and the state Court of Appeals ruled, that even though it was clear Hoff was trying to get Moore fired, Hoff’s speech merited constitutional protection.



 

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