Friday, August 22, 2008

Have You Checked Myspace Lately?

An assistant principal in San Antonio has lost her case against two students and their parents based on a fake myspace page. The kids set up a page that appeared to be created by Anna Draker, the assistant principal at Clark High School. The court said that the myspace page included "explicit and graphic sexual references." It also claimed that Ms. Draker is a lesbian, which she is not.

The A.P. sued the two boys who did this, alleging defamation, libel, illegal conspiracy and intentional infliction of emotional distress. With regard to the parents, the suit alleged that they were negligent in supervising their children's use of the internet.

The 4th Court of Appeals in San Antonio tossed the suit out. The court's opinion primarily addresses the "intentional infliction" claim against the students and holds that such theories are not available unless no other legal theory is available. The court thought the case was really about defamation, and therefore, an "intentional infliction" claim was not available. The fact that the defamation claim also failed did not seem to bother the court. The court said "If the gravamen of Draker's complaint was defamation, it matters not whether she succeeded on or even made, such a claim." Gravamen is a legal term meaning "the substantial point or essence of a claim, grievance, or complaint."

So, since this was really about defamation,