By Kevin O'Keefe

Police Chief sues blogger

Alleging he’s been defamed, the Salisbury, Maryland Police Chief has sued a blogger for $9,999 in damages. Presumably the $9,999 number comes as result of a $10,000 limit for small claims court.

The Daily Times’ Katherine Crowell reports the law firm of Miles & Stockbridge is representing Police Chief Allan Webster in the suit against Joe Albero. Albero has become increasingly vocal on his blog, Salisbury News, against Webster’s leadership and management of the Salisbury Police Department. His site also routinely publishes photographs of the chief.

I have no idea of the facts but I tend to agree with Alebro already.

The city is trying to shut me up. … It baffles me that this public figure, the chief of police, would go after me. This has got to be embarrassing to the chief to have to stoop this low.

Proving a defamation case is hard enough. In the case of a public figure it’s even tougher. The Chief will need to prove not just an untruthful statement, but also that the statement was made with “actual malice.” Actual malice meaning with knowledge of the statement’s falsity or with reckless disregard for the truth.

Plus Albero and other bloggers are only going to blog about Chief Webster even more. Have to wonder if the chief’s lawyers understand the nature of blogs.

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Kevin O'Keefe
About the Author

Trial lawyer turned legal tech entrepreneur, I am the founder and CEO of LexBlog, a legal blog community of over 30,000 blog publishers, worldwide. LexBlog’s publishing platform is used on a subscription basis by over 18,000 legal professionals, including the largest law firm in each India, China and the United States.

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