This morning, the Minnesota Court of Appeals released a decision that wisely protects bloggers’ rights to tell the truth, particularly on matters of public concern.
The case, Moore v. Hoff, involved a long-simmering Minneapolis dispute between John Hoff, who writes a blog titled “The Adventures of Johnny Northside,” and Jerry L. Moore, who worked in the University of Minnesota’s Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center.
Hoff made a blog post that Moore claimed were defamatory, and in turn Moore claimed that his termination from the university was linked to the allegedly false post. Moore sued Hoff for defamation but also for interfering with his business relations. A jury found that the posts were not false but nevertheless found interference with business relations.
But the Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed the jury verdict, ruling that a claim based on interference with business relations must involve a falsity, not a truth. The court further explained that the communication involved matters of public concern in North Minneapolis.
Minnesota online communicators should be heartened by this holding, which affirms bloggers’ places in the media marketplace.