Originally Posted By: Sam the Sham
Originally Posted By: Timbo
Originally Posted By: The Mechanic
I find that funny coming from Pete who for years ran a business that did nothing but serve underage kids.

Boy, if THAT statement doesn't open you up to a libel lawsuit, nothing does.

First, Mitchell would have to locate "the Mechanic" to file the lawsuit.

Upon filing the lawsuit, the burden would be on Mitchell to prove the statement was false.

In addition, arguably, Mitchell has made himself a public figure by becoming a published author of a weekly column. That would make any libel suit even more difficult than for a private citizen because, not only would he need to prove it was false, he would need to prove it was made with "actual malice," and/or a "reckless disregard for the facts."

In addition, by filing the lawsuit, Mitchell would most likely be opening up his business operations to pretrial disclosure, including whether or not he (or any employees) had ever served an underaged person, what training the staff got in Dram shop, etc., any investigations or fines from the NYS Liquor Authority, etc.

Does all that really seem worth it to address an anonymous statement on a message board?

1) The name of any forum member can easily be subpoenaed for little to no cost.

2) The prosecution (or victim in this case) has no obligation whatsoever to prove innocence. That's why the burden of proof always rests upon those who would make public libelous claims. Anyone who does so against an individual or business (Such as Parker's) will almost certainly result in a legal loss, as long as the plaintiff can prove damages, which, in the case of a commercial operation thats' livelihood is significantly dependent on public perception, is quite easy and requires only the most basic evidence.

3) Dramshop laws are irrelevant unless they relate specifically to the alleged libelous claims. And since the statement made, clearly stated "ALL", The Mechanic would be highly unlikely to prevail in such a case.

4) It all depends on the potential level of damages, doesn't it? A single witnesses statement by anyone claiming to 'not do business' as a result of this statement would be ample evidence for a clear prosecutorial victory. Of course, there's absolutely nothing to prevent Parker's from suing the snot out of 'The Mechanic', simply out of principle, right? smirk
Everyone's entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.