The Cabin Boy™ was full of threats and bluster yesterday. He sent me this email—
There’s so much craziness … where to begin?
The first thing that stuck me was the utter hypocrisy shown in the email. Pingbacks are not contact, but auto-generated notices of comments are. And how would the Cabin Boy™ square his previous defense of Roger Shuler with the positions he takes in this email?
Of course, his understanding of the law of defamation is utterly faulty. Under Maryland law, there can be no recovery for defamation unless the plaintiff can prove that the allegedly defamatory statement was false. A defendant has no obligation to prove that what he said was true. The Cabin Boy’s™ provably true riff has no basis in law. Indeed, it is provably false itself.
Furthermore, it makes no difference whether the Cabin Boy™ is a private person or not. In Maryland, every defamation plaintiff is held to the New York Times v. Sullivan standard of proving legal malice. Bill Schmalfeldt would to read Telnikoff v. Matusevitch, 702 A. 2d 230, 347 Md. 561 (1997) and the cases it cites before he runs off at the keyboard again.
Also, under 47 U.S.C. § 230, Hogewash! is an internet service provider because of the interactive nature of the comment system. I’ll let The Dreadful Pro-Se Schmalfeldt try to find the case law on that himself. (Hint: One such case is a Maryland Court of Appeals case that Team Kimberlin has relied on in the past.)
Meanwhile, because of the threats he has made to persons who reply to the comments he makes on blogs, I would wield the ban hammer on him if the Cabin Boy™ had not already been told to cease communicating with me, including comments to this blog.
Oh, one more thing … The Cabin Boy™ should also review Lawrence v. AS Abell Co.,
475 A. 2d 448, 299 Md. 697 (1984) before making any further threats about use of his likeness.