#BillSchmalfeldt and Libel Per Se


Cabin Boy Bill keeps looping on the subject of libel per se. I’m tempted to respond, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

IANAL, but several of my lawyer friends tell me that in Maryland libel per se is a common law tort. It is the broadcast or written publication of a false statement about another which accuses him of a crime, immoral acts, inability to perform his profession, having a loathsome disease (like syphilis), or dishonesty in business.RadioWMS201307121530Z

Stalking is a crime in Maryland. I have met Tetyana Kimberlin exactly one point zero times. That meeting took place in Montgomery County, Maryland. I was sitting in a restaurant waiting to meet someone else when she approached me. That certainly does not constitute my stalking anyone, so the tweet above is a published false statement accusing me of a crime. (BTW, the time stamps on the tweets in this post are in GMT. That’s the clock the logging computer uses.)

RadioWMS201307201255Z

@aaronworthing is Aaron Walker’s Twitter handle. Aaron Walker is a member of the bar in Virginia and the District of Columbia. Saying that a lawyer is ignorant of the law is clearly a statement of the lawyer’s inability to perform his profession. Mr. Walker is, in fact, a competent attorney engaged in the practice of law, so that tweet is a publication of a false statement of his inability to perform his profession.

Those are just two example of Bill Schmalfeldt’s libelous rantings. The Gentle Reader would not have to look very hard to find an example of the Cabin Boy falsely accusing someone of engaging in immoral acts. I would not be surprised to find that he’s managed to tick every possible box on the per se standard.

So let the Cabin Boy huff and puff. If he’s sufficiently dumb enough to file a libel suit, he may find that the counterclaims will result in his own words blowing his own house down.

4 thoughts on “#BillSchmalfeldt and Libel Per Se

  1. Courts also consider context for these sorts of charges- most notably, the reputability of the source of the comments. If the source of the comments is too disreputable to get anyone to believe what he’s written, then courts generally won’t consider that libel or slander (AFAIK; IANAL)

    Also, where it’s written matters, because people perceive different media differently. If something like what he said was written in a scientific journal, it would almost certainly be libel, because those are taken as the next best thing to Gospel Truth by a lot of the community; if it was in a newspaper or a major news site, it still might be because of the ‘big name’ value of those organizations. On a blog site or twitter feed, it’ll be difficult to convince anyone that it was intended to be a statement of fact rather than opinion.

    Basically: from what little I know, courts will probably consider this him being a jerk, rather than making a deliberate attempt to libel someone’s good name.

    However, taken in context of registering websites maliciously to use against you and others, the evidence they might be responsible for SWAT’ting, and their obvious focused attempts to target and discredit you and other conservative bloggers, it’s certainly possible that I’m wrong.

    • I’ve pointed out before that there’s little reason to sue BS because he has few assets to attach in a judgment. However, if he were to start something, he might find himself facing some interesting counterclaims. The end result could be the Cabin Boy stuck with everyone’s costs and a ruling that says his statements aren’t libelous or defamatory because he has no credibility.

  2. Pingback: … More Lunatics (Bill Schmalfeldt) … « Lake Erie Conservative

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