Twitter defamation?

Medical spa doctor Jerrold Darm of Aesthetic Medicine has filed a $1 million libel lawsuit against local blogger Tiffany Craig for allegedly defaming him in a blog post and in a tweet.

In a blog post in June of 2011 Craig blogged about Dr. Darm and his television commercials for his medical spa. In the post Craig reveals that Darm lost his medical license in 2001 due to a disciplinary action by the state’s medical board. The board investigated an allegation that Darm treated a patient after hours, then following the treatment he inappropriately touched the patient and indicated that would constitute payment. The medical board issued a reprimand that included a number of requirements, including the presence of a chaperone whenever Darm treated female patients. The order was terminated two years ago.

Well, it seems Darm was not pleased with Craig’s blog post and is going after her for defamation. Craig’s attorney is trying to get the case dismissed under the state’s anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) laws. Basically, Craig’s attorney is arguing that the blog post was on public issues and that Craig’s blog post is essentially true. She even links to the medical board’s records in the blog post.

A hearing in September decided that the case is indeed a matter of public interest and that Twitter is a public forum. Another hearing will take place later this month, and Darm’s attorney will need to convince the judge of the validity of the defamation claim.

The funny thing is, would anyone have even known about this blog post if this lawsuit hadn’t been filed and the story picked up by the Oregonian? Now a lot more people are going to know about Darm’s past indiscretions.

For more on this story, see this article.