Former Aurora mayor Phyllis Morris launched her $6-million lawsuit last year, arguing critical blog posts on the Aurora Citizen website — including allegations of corruption, lies and fiscal mismanagement — made her the subject of “ridicule, hatred and contempt.”
Mr. Hogg, a former town councillor, was a moderator on the website, while Mr. Johnson was a frequent contributor. The allegedly defamatory posts were attributed to anonymous individuals, who, along with web host wordpress.com and moderator Elizabeth Bishenden, are also named as defendants. (…)
Lawyer Lorne Honickman, an expert in defamation law, says the case has laid bare the complexities of “the burgeoning world of Internet defamation and all the different permutations and combinations of who’s responsible for what.”
This case and others like it will help set precedents, Mr. Honickman said, particularly on issues such as the liability of web hosts and “anonymous” authors. In the Morris case, a judge is considering a motion to force identification of the anonymous commenters.
“People can’t hide behind cloaks of anonymity like they think they can,” Mr. Honickman said.