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