A South Florida jury has awarded a record $11.3 million in damages to a woman who was defamed by another woman on the Internet.You can't? This only shows that it is possible to get a default judgment against someone with no money.
Sue Scheff of Weston, Fla., sued Carey Bock of Mandeville, La., in December 2003 over the messages posted calling her a "crook," a "con artist" and a "fraud," USA Today reported Wednesday.
The dispute was centered on a referral business Scheff runs that helps parents of troubled children find appropriate schools, the newspaper said. After their transaction involving Bock's two sons, Bock began posting the messages, the jury was told.
Bock was unable to pay an attorney and did not attend the Broward County, Fla., trial or enter a defense, and Scheff said she doubted she'd see any money at all.
"I'm sure (Bock) doesn't have $1 million, let alone $11 million, but the message is strong and clear," Scheff told USA Today. "People are using the Internet to destroy people they don't like and you can't do that."
Sue Scheff sounds like a crook to me. She uses the courts against someone expressing an opinion, according to this story.
In my opinion, punitive damages should only be awarded if the defendant has the sort of protections that a criminal defendant would have. This defendant was not even present at the trial.