“Sue first, ask questions later”

Mashable reports on what at first glance appears to be a run-of-the-mill libel lawsuit. Horizon Realty is suing a former tenant, Amanda Bonnen, for US$50,000 over the one line:

Who said sleeping in a moldy apartment was bad for you? Horizon realty thinks it’s okay.

The alarming thing is that, according to the story, Amanda had maybe 20 followers at the time of the account’s deletion. The most alarming part of this story, however, is this statement from a Horizon employee named Jeffrey Michael:

Bonnen wasn’t contacted before the suit was filed or asked to remove the Tweet, [Michael] said: “We’re a sue first, ask questions later kind of an organization”.

If Horizon does have a reputation to protect, aggressively filing lawsuits of dubious merit and making statements to that effect are not the way to uphold it. Actions speak far louder than words; I think Horizon’s reaction to the whole incident will do a lot more to scare tenants away than anything Amanda might have said or done in response to the incident.

To Amanda, if you’re out there reading this: You’ve got the right to trial by jury. Use it.

To Horizon: You need to hire a PR firm that knows what they are doing, and not try to do it yourself.

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