The tweet that caused a 25-year-old Chicago renter to be sued last summer was deemed "too vague" by a Cook County judge today--causing the defamation suit to be thrown out.
Horizon Group Management LLC filed a lawsuit in July against Amanda Bonnen, who allegedly took to her Twitter account to vent about mold in her apartment building. Bonnen allegedly told another user: "Who said sleeping in a moldy apartment was bad for you? Horizon realty thinks it's okay."
Horizon accused Bonnen of "severely" damaging their reputation, the AP reported in July--but Cook County Circuit Court Judge Diane Larsen did not think so.
On Thursday, Judge Larsen said the tweet was "really too vague" and "lacks any context," according to the McCormick Freedom Project's Post Exchange:
In their court filings, Bonnen's attorneys argued that her tweets were random and hyperbolic, and were not statements of fact. Citing other Illinois court cases, they said a statement's literary and social context matters in determining whether it is to be taken as factual content, and therefore constitutionally protected. They noted that as a medium Twitter contains academic, casual, insightful, and silly speech that is sometimes "drivel." Bonnen only speculates what Horizon thinks in the tweet giving her personal opinion and not stating a fact. The tweet also doesn't give Bonnen's location or indicate she lives in property managed by Horizon to give factual background to her tweet, they argued.
The company initially sought $50,000 in damages, but the realty group's lawyer Bret Rappaport told the Post Exchange Thursday they are now discussing their legal options.
As for Bonnen, the Twitter page that got her into legal trouble doesn't exist anymore.
"We're happy she ruled the way she did," one of Bonnen's attorneys Richard Balough told the Post Exchange. "The Tweet was just Ms. Bonnen's personal observation."