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Ex-commissioner plans lawsuit over Web site comments

Posted April 16, 2010

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— A former Vance County commissioner seeking office again wants to sue up to 20 Web site users who commented on a local blog for posts that he claims are libelous.

A court hearing is scheduled for Monday in which an attorney for Tommy Hester will request that a judge require the identities of the bloggers be turned over from the site's editor, Jason Feingold.

Ex-commissioner plans lawsuit over Web comments Ex-commissioner plans lawsuit over Web comments

Feingold's attorneys plan to challenge the request.

The debate stems from a news report out of Henderson in which police charged a boarding house manager after finding eight people living in unsanitary conditions in a house that Hester owned.

Bloggers of the Home In Henderson Web site posted negative comments about Hester on the site that Hester's attorney, Boyd Sturges, thinks are not protected speech.

"They are, in fact, libelous," Sturges said Friday. "That means they are somehow defaming Mr. Hester."

Sturges says he is especially concerned about comments in which posters call his client a "slumlord."

"People just aren't allowed, under the cover of darkness, to say things that aren't true," Sturges said.

Not everyone agrees.

Tim McAllister is protesting what he calls a "frivolous lawsuit." He and others argue the move is political and stepping on people's rights to voice their opinion through social media.

"I don't agree with an attack on anyone's First Amendment rights of freedom of speech," he said. "I did not see anything in there but a couple of personal insults. Having run for office myself, it's part of the game."

"I don't think this has anything to do with his campaign," Sturges said. "I believe it's got to do with the fact that he feels he's been wronged."

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  • bathroom_monkey Apr 16, 2010

    Insert opinions at your own risk......

  • Blue steel Apr 16, 2010

    The attorney representing this "politician" has the middle name of frivolous.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Apr 16, 2010

    Good luck with that commissioner. I'm the poster child for slander. Come get me. If I'm ever arrested or sued for simply speaking my opinion, then this country will have crossed the barrier of communism.

  • cocker_mom Apr 16, 2010

    At the risk of being sued myself - if you own a rooming house where authorities find 8 people living in unsanitary conditions (and you ain't one of them) is that not the very definition of "slumlord"?

  • ranquick Apr 16, 2010

    Just what we need the taxpayers paying for another "frivolous lawsuit". There is a thing call Freedom of SPeach in this Country. SOme lawyer will sue at the drop of a hat.... this another area Government needs to regulate also, Lawyers Fees and ethics. Just like someone who is disable MUST obtain a Lwayer to get his or her benefits...WHy can;t this be granted on the word and record from a PROFESSIONAL DOCTOR. WHy should a lawyer get nearly 40% of the benefits, this is a rip off