No. of Recommendations: 2

<< I provided you with the links to the two Yahoo posts I made that were cited as defamatory by CS First Boston. You will see that I am being sued for referring to CS First Boston's David Maris as "a goof," and "a loser." The fact that this lawsuit was filed backs up my claim--"goof" and "loser" properly describe a Wall Street analyst who would claim $1 million in damages because someone referred to him as such.>>

Doe #2,

I agree with part of what you say. I would say "goof" and "loser" aren't a problem. Here is something that strikes me differently:

"What makes the stock behave even more "goosy" is the fact that goofs like Maris and Maverick are continually spreading mistruths and half-truths. "


"Unfortunately, we don't have subpoena power, so there is no way to prove whether ELN is or is not being manipulated. However, from watching the tape, I would bet my last dollar that it has been. "

To my untrained eye, the first one is much more problematic than the second because there's no hint that it is being offered as an opinion. But, whatever -- my opinion doesn't really count for anything. However, those are public accusations -- at least in the mind of Maris/CSFB -- of criminal misconduct. The "fact" of spreading mistruths as you put it -- that's a pretty bold statement. Certainly something the SEC would want to made aware of. Certainly something that Maris would lose his job and career for if true -- correct?

You've got your reasons for making the statements that you did, and CSFB disagrees that those reasons are sufficient to excuse a statement such as the one made under the laws of defamation.

Look, as I said in the article, I think those at CSFB have lost perspective by filing this. I certainly wouldn't have chosen to do so if I were them. But if you're asking me whether there are statements in there that give rise to a winnable action under the applicable law of defamation as I understand it? I think there's a possible case there. (Disclaimer: nothing at all contained herein should in any way be construed as legal advice of any stripe. These are no more than the musings of a layman.)

This case might be winnable, it might not be -- but if stating as fact that somebody is a liar, and has engaged in manipulation of a security (a criminal act) isn't defamation, I'm scratching my head as to what exactly would be.

Are there lots of shades of gray to all the statements posted? Sure. There are lots and lots and lots of defenses that I can think of for a defendant in an action such as this, but if you're asking me where the problem was in those posts -- please don't try to re-configure this to have been no more than just calling the guy a goof and a loser and having a difference of opinion with him. Read through the posts again, and decide for yourself where the biggest problem might be.

In any event, best of luck,

Bill Barker
Print the post  


What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.