Laws Of .com

Law Firm Protected from Liability for Internet Posting

The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has held in the case of Amway Corporation ("Amway") v. The Procter & Gamble Company ("P& G") that Michigan's statutory fair reporting privilege applied to a law firm. The privilege protected the law firm from tort liability from the supposed role it played over the publication on the Internet of allegedly defamatory material previously filed in court.

This case represents the third law suit in what the Western District of Michigan at Grand Rapids described as a "long history of corporate warfare between Amway and P&G". Amway originally brought this action against P&G, alleging tortious interference with business relations, after Sidney Schwartz, the creator and editor of an anti-Amway website called "Amway: The Untold Story" published a complaint filed by P&G against Amway in a Texas federal district court, alleging among other things, that Amway operates as an illegal pyramid scheme. Amway also claimed against the law firm of Dinsmore for allegedly providing Schwartz with some copies of documents that had been filed in court and that ended up being posted by Schwartz on the Internet.

The district court ruled in favour of the defendants in a summary judgment applying Michigan's fair reporting privilege, which protects individuals who fairly and accurately report information that substantially represents matters contained in court records. This decision was upheld by the Court of Appeals in that the appellate court found that Michigan's fair reporting privilege applies to publications on a website.

For a copy of the full decision, visit: