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Olympian Skater's Mom Sues Google Over Blogger Post

No stranger to lawsuits, Google has faced any number of accusations, from misappropriating trade secrets to invading people's privacy with its Street View application. Well, according to, the litigious mother of an Olympic athlete decided to file suit against Google last week because of allegedly defamatory comments posted through Google's Blogger service.

The comments, originally posted in 2006 by Sean Healy, accused Cherie Davis, the mother of Olympic speed skater Shani Davis, of lambasting members of the speed skating federation with charges of racism. On his blog 'Unknown Column,' Healy claimed that Ms. Davis, in her characterizations of federation members, used language like "'KKK'" and "'neo-Nazi genetic mutation'." Ms. Davis is now filing suit in the state of Illinois to have the blog removed.

The gold medalist's mother faces several legal obstacles with her lawsuit, as the Communications Decency Act protects Web sites from legal issues created by users' potentially libelous posts. According to, for Healy's comments to be found libelous, Davis would have to not only prove that they were false, but also prove that Healy posted them with "reckless disregard" for whether they were in fact false or not. The latter part could be difficult to determine, considering Healy died in 2006. Hampering the case even further, an Illinois complainant must make her case within one year of the relevant material's being published, according to attorney Paul Alan Levy.

The lawsuit may seem absurd, but Google has faced cases far more ridiculous; back in 2007, one man sued Google because, when he wrote his Social Security number upside down, and then rearranged the letters, it looked similar to "Google." Did we mention he wrote the lawsuit by hand?

Anyway, who knows? Maybe Ms. Davis is on to something. Perhaps she's uncovered an elaborate Nazi conspiracy to infiltrate the U.S. Olympic Commitee in order to seek retribution for the abject humiliation they suffered in 1936 at the hands, and feet, of Jesse Owens. Mulder, paging Mr. Fox Mulder. [From: Unknown Column and MediaPost]

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Tags: communications decency act, CommunicationsDecencyAct, first amendment, FirstAmendment, google, google lawsuits, GoogleLawsuits, law, lawsuits, libel, litigation, top



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