Former Vance commissioner settles defamation claims with bloggers
Posted August 13, 2010
Henderson, N.C. — A former Vance County commissioner on Thursday settled his dispute with five bloggers who he said posted defamatory comments about him.
The case stems from a news report last year in which Henderson police charged a boarding house manager after finding eight people living in unsanitary conditions.
Some Home In Henderson bloggers posted negative comments about Tommy Hester on the site after learning he owned the property. Authorities said his tenant had sublet it to the eight people without his knowledge.
Superior Court Judge Howard Manning in June ordered the website's editor to divulge the names of people who posted the comments under pseudonyms. Hester had wanted the names of up to 20 posters, but Manning ruled that most of the posts weren't libelous and were protected by the First Amendment.
The five bloggers, four of whom were identified by their real names in the settlements, agreed to post statements on the Home In Henderson site "clarifying" their original posts, according to news releases issued by the attorneys for both Hester and the bloggers.
Other terms of the settlements weren't disclosed.
One blogger affected by Manning's ruling hasn't settled with Hester and still faces a possible defamation claim in the case.