The tweet that caused a 25-year-old Chicago renter to be sued last summer was deemed “too vague” by a Cook County judge today–causing the defamation suit to be thrown out.
Horizon Group Management LLC filed a lawsuit in July against Amanda Bonnen, who allegedly took to her Twitter account to vent about mold in her apartment building. Bonnen allegedly told another user: “Who said sleeping in a moldy apartment was bad for you? Horizon realty thinks it’s okay.”
Horizon accused Bonnen of “severely” damaging their reputation, the AP reported in July–but Cook County Circuit Court Judge Diane Larsen did not think so.
On Thursday, Judge Larsen said the tweet was “really too vague” and “lacks any context,” according to the McCormick Freedom Project’s Post Exchange:
In their court filings, Bonnen’s attorneys argued that her tweets were random and hyperbolic, and were not statements of fact. Citing other Illinois court cases, they said a statement’s literary and social context matters in determining whether it is to be taken as factual content, and therefore constitutionally protected. They noted that as a medium Twitter contains academic, casual, insightful, and silly speech that is sometimes “drivel.” Bonnen only speculates what Horizon thinks in the tweet giving her personal opinion and not stating a fact. The tweet also doesn’t give Bonnen’s location or indicate she lives in property managed by Horizon to give factual background to her tweet, they argued.
The company initially sought $50,000 in damages, but the realty group’s lawyer Bret Rappaport told the Post Exchange Thursday they are now discussing their legal options.
As for Bonnen, the Twitter page that got her into legal trouble doesn’t exist anymore.
“We’re happy she ruled the way she did,” one of Bonnen’s attorneys Richard Balough told the Post Exchange. “The Tweet was just Ms. Bonnen’s personal observation.”
Tweet about apartment mold draws lawsuit – In case Horizon is not aware of this, there is a review about these apartments that mentions mold!
Horizon Realty Responds to Lawsuit Twitter Controversy – It’s mold litigation
Horizon Group to Sue Estimated 5,000 Bloggers and Commenters
Twitter Apartment Mold Lawsuit PDF
A letter to the NAA regarding an email they deleted without reading – please retract your amicus in the Abad case in Arizona – it is fraud by a political action committee, the National Apartment Association, that is furthering another fraud by another political action committee, the US Chamber of Commerce
Political Action Committee – NAA – files Amicus Brief in mold case (two infant deaths in mold filled apt – Wasatch Prop Mgmt) citing US Chamber/ACOEM ‘litigation defense report’ to disclaim health effects of indoor mold & limit financial risk for industry
“Changes in construction methods have caused US buildings to become perfect petri dishes for mold and bacteria to flourish when water is added. Instead of warning the public and teaching physicians that the buildings were causing illness; in 2003 the US Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform, a think-tank, and a workers comp physician trade organization mass marketed an unscientific nonsequitor to the courts to disclaim the adverse health effects to stave off liability for financial stakeholders of moldy buildings. Although publicly exposed many times over the years, the deceit lingers in US courts to this very day.” Sharon Noonan Kramer
Information on Riverstone Residential knowingly exposing tenants to extreme amounts of mold toxins at Toxic Mold Infested Jefferson Lakes Apartments in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Toxic Mold Infested Jefferson Lakes Apartments managed by Riverstone Residential
Riverstone Residential Litigation