Print 13 comment(s) - last by Tsuwamono.. on Aug 3 at 3:12 PM

Horizon seeks $50,000 in damages from former tenant.

Horizon Group Management LLC has filed a lawsuit against former tenant Amanda Bonnen for a May 12 Twitter post describing her former Chicago apartment as moldy. The post stated, “Who said sleeping in a moldy apartment was bad for you? Horizon realty thinks it's okay."

Horizon is seeking $50,000 in damages claiming she "maliciously and wrongfully" slammed her apartment at 4242 N. Sheridan and the company managing it.

According to the Chicago Sun Times article, no discussion about the Twitter post between Bonnen and Horizon has occurred. Jeffery Michael, whose family runs Horizon, stated, "The statements are obviously false, and it's our intention to prove that." He also stated, "We're a sue first, ask questions later kind of an organization".

Ars Technica pointed out the ground breaking nature of the lawsuit due to its Twitter origin. The debate revolves around what standard Twitter posts should be held to when it comes to defamation. The Ars article mentions how blogs are increasingly being held to the same standard as regular media.

In response to the controversy, Horizon has released a press release, the details of which were listed in an update to the Ars article. Horizon claims Jeffrey Michael’s comments were "tongue in cheek." They also revealed there was a roof leak in March of 2009 and that Bonnen moved out of her apartment in June of 2009 despite there being no mold in her apartment. They also reveal Bonnen has sued Horizon. When doing their "due diligence" in preparation for the lawsuit Horizon discovered the Twitter post culminating in Horizon’s lawsuit against Bonnen.

Interestingly as of this writing, the press release PDF file can no longer be accessed on the Horizon Realty website despite having a link to it on the front of their website.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

say it isnt so!
By kattanna on 7/31/2009 11:44:27 AM , Rating: 2
people.. being held accountable.. for their actions <GASPS>

how un-american

i still find it highly humorous that people dont think about what they post out in the public domain, which is any website, or think what ever they do post is private, LOL.

RE: say it isnt so!
By Red Rocks on 7/31/2009 12:14:23 PM , Rating: 2
If you read the article carefully you would probably have picked up that the tenant has already brought a lawsuit against Horizon. This is most likely less about accountability for actions than it is about Chicago slumlords being slumlords.

And no, it certainly won't hold up. She's voicing an opinion and it's protected speech.

RE: say it isnt so!
By omnicronx on 7/31/2009 12:38:12 PM , Rating: 3
And no, it certainly won't hold up. She's voicing an opinion and it's protected speech.
Best part is Horizon is defaming themselves, none of this would have been brought to light if not for them. Now instead of the few people that actually read her twits, we all know.

RE: say it isnt so!
By Keeir on 7/31/2009 5:32:32 PM , Rating: 5
And no, it certainly won't hold up. She's voicing an opinion and it's protected speech.

Well... actually no. Her statement is very close to being something that can be proven. IE, Was mold discovered in her apartment or not.

However, I think this would be a form of Libel. I am not familiar with Libel laws in Chicago but its usually required to prove

A. Harm has occured. IE, some readers read the message and believed it
B. Statement was not made in good faith/belief of truth. IE, all she has to have is reasonable belief there was mold

Obviously this is just a case of a defendent trying to take the offensive to provided some leverage for a settlement...

Interestingily enough, the United States is one of the few place in the world where you are free from government penalities due to libel/slander.

RE: say it isnt so!
By Tsuwamono on 8/3/2009 3:12:31 PM , Rating: 2
whats retarded is she is being sued for writing a review on a product.. in this case its her apartment or the service of the landlord.

Thats like Nvida sueing Anandtech because their card got a shittier review then ATI.

Heres a thought.. make a better product.

Realty, not reality
By mattclary on 7/31/2009 12:49:27 PM , Rating: 3
You sure about that title?

RE: Realty, not reality
By Boze on 7/31/2009 4:19:00 PM , Rating: 5
The reality of this realty situation is that its going to end badly for Horizon Reality (Realty?) regardless of whether they win or lose.

If they win, they'll be painted as the large local corporation who goes after their former tenants because their tenants said something they didn't like. If they lose, it'll be viewed as a victory against corporate bullying.

The correct response was to contact this lady, address her concerns, investigate her concerns, put a positive P.R. spin on the whole situation (regardless of what the investigation revealed), and then move along to the next unhappy tenant. This jackass that runs the company and says they're a "sue first, ask questions later" organization needs a realty (or is that reality?) check. Whoever runs their P.R. should have pulled him to the side and told him, "Please shut the f*ck up before you make the company look any worse."

chicago slumlord countersues tenant
By peterhailey on 7/31/2009 12:48:25 PM , Rating: 2
I encountered a similar situation with the Norris & Stevens holding company. I rented an apartment for three years untill I receivied a rental increase from $700.00 per month to a $850.00 per month. This I grudgingly paid but than receivied a "notice of termination with cause". The notice, which was backdated 30 days, said that the rental increase did not include the $15 per month parking space rental and that I was to pay this amount immediately or vacate. I decided that if these jerks don't like receiving $850 per month that they won't get anything and moved out. After appling to rent elewhere I found that the manager lied and stated that I moved out without notice and further implied that I had qoute "damaged the apartment". I am pleased that I was the 6th person to move out after the rental increase and now when you drive by you see advertised,"Free months rent" and "Now accepting section eight"(welfare). You see I know how to fight corporate America. The only thing they care about is money so you have to hit them in the pocket book. I, myself, personally have cost them over $10,000 in lost revenue. Wait until I declare war and really go after them. I won't waste my time in the courtroom.

RE: chicago slumlord countersues tenant
By MrBlastman on 7/31/2009 1:30:50 PM , Rating: 2
What a bunch of money grubbing whores. They squeeze you for the 150 and then try to pry 15 more outta you.

You're right though, the best way to fight corporations isn't by suing them, it is by using your wallet (or in this case not using it). If they don't have any money, they can't stay in business. It is a beautiful concept our country has, isn't it. :)

By Jabroney701020 on 7/31/2009 4:54:49 PM , Rating: 2
That concept is slowly fading. Pretty soon that business incentive will not influence businesses.

By MattFishel on 8/3/2009 3:01:54 PM , Rating: 4
"We're a sue first, ask questions later kind of an organization".



By Outraged Public on 8/1/2009 3:36:57 AM , Rating: 2
Help stop companies like Horizon Realty from filing frivolous lawsuits and wasting taxpayer money. Please follow us on Twitter at OutragedPublic, and then visit to sign a petition telling companies like Horizon that you find this behavior unacceptable. Our simple website is located at We will be posting updates on our petition progress there, and we have a forum where you can discuss your thoughts on this issue. Together we can make a statement. Thank you for your support.

By TheEinstein on 8/1/2009 12:36:11 PM , Rating: 2
You know I have been to a few different apartments, only ever once have I lived in a residence I could say was 'less than ideal' for it's price (A mobile home that had issues, bad issues).

Now one time I did need to take a landlord to court for false accusations, but I won, and they had to go tongue in cheek. Their case dismissed, my case dismissed, but an agreement which left me holding the upper hand.

That said how can we assume every landlord in every tenant case is a slumlord?

I think this is as bad as Obama saying "Those police acted irresponsibly".

Assuming things is the mother of all foul ups.

Why not try to get more facts first, before we cry foul on one side or the other?

"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki