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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Mom in MySpace Case Expects Civil Litigation

The Smoking Gun has posted a number of new documents in the tragic case of Megan Meier, who committed suicide in 2006 after being rejected by a friend she met via MySpace -- a friend who, it turns out, was actually the mother of a former friend pretending to be a young boy.  On the last page, the mother (one Lori Drews) reports that she's anticipating civil litigation to be instigated by the girl's parents, which raises various issues of duty and legal cause, among other things (for any negligence claims).

--BC

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/tortsprof/2007/11/mom-in-myspace.html

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Aside from negligence, I think this raises interesting issues as to intentional infliction of emotional distress. The tort is, I believe, recognized in most jurisdictions, but in my experience it tends to be disfavored by practitioners.

Posted by: Scott J. Kreppein | Nov 28, 2007 11:39:45 AM

I just have a question for lori drew How would you like it if someone did this to your daughter?

Posted by: ericka | Nov 30, 2007 1:03:21 PM

The naming of Lori Drew has sparked quite a debate indeed. Some major news outlets have chosen to name the perpetrator(s) behind this story such as the New York Times. Some have chosen not to. The mainstream media however has concluded that the blogging community should shoulder the responsibility of first naming the perpetrator behind this story.

The first question I have in this debate is simple. What is new here? Since before the French Revolution, the media has been used to 'out' individuals who's actions seem to bear public relevancy in some way.

Although Lori Drew has not yet been charged in the case of Megan Meier, the media has never required formal charges to be made before running a story. In the case of some journalist like Dan Rather, some media outlets run with stories before even confirming that they're true.

In this particular case, media outlets that have chosen to withhold Lori Drew's identity have done so in consideration of other Drew family members.

I'm wondering if by doing this, the media plans to always withhold the names of interesting persons who outrage the community, if those persons have children. This would certainly be quite a ground-breaking event

Right at this moment, there is a story of a cop who is under investigation in the strange death of one wife and the disappearance of another. The cop in the story has a family, yet the media huddles outside his home relentlessly.

I could go back and list thousands of stories where the media wasted no time in delivering the names and occupations of individuals that were later cleared of any wrong-doing. I've never heard of another instance where the media apologized for naming names.

Don Henley's 'Dirty Laundry' certainly applies well to conduct of most major news outlets.

Lori Drew is a primary subject of the story, she is not a rape victim, and is not a minor. Identifying her breaks no new ground, nor does it deviate from what news outlets do on a daily basis.

I also remind readers that her name and her role in the Megan Meier tragedy were documented as public record. A public record that Lori filed on her own accord. This is a critically important fact in this debate.

News outlets, bloggers and the general public were handed Lori's name and Lori's own self admissions when she herself filed that police report and sought to elevate the entire situation into the public domain.

Had Lori Drew simply acknowledged what she did was wrong, and apologized - the police report that identified her may have never been filed, and the entire situation may have well been kept at the lowest profile.

Will we see the media write about this? Not likely.

Danny Vice
http://weeklyvice.blogspot.com

Posted by: Danny Vice | Dec 2, 2007 2:19:01 PM

While the Megan Meier case seems outrageous and unique, it isn’t unique. Hundreds of cases of egregious and heinous acts go on every day with the same excuses out of our lawmakers.

One such other case....The case of Nikki Catsouras, is a classic example of disgusting, hateful activity against innocent victims, while our lawmakers excuse themselves from enacting laws to prevent this.

The excuse lawmakers use to let themselves off the hook stem from the growth of the Internet and how fast it's changing. This is a sham.

Chat rooms, message boards, instant messengers and email have been in existence for far over a decade now. While the software used to transmit messages changes slightly, the basic essence of using the Internet to send a message is largely the same. Is a decade or two long enough to establish some basic decency laws in regards to Internet usage?

I’ve posted the Nikki Catsouras story along with many details about the Megan Meier case so the inactivity out of our lawmakers towards these types of cases can be clearly seen.

Those who are interested in learning about cases like Megan’s and Nikki’s case are encouraged to drop by and comment on them if you like. I have a couple of polls set up as well. Danny Vice would like to hear your point of view.

Public awareness of the problem and discussions about possible solutions are the best way to pressure elected officials into action instead of excuse making.

I invite you to come by and share your opinion.

Danny Vice
http://weeklyvice.blogspot.com

Posted by: Danny Vice | Dec 9, 2007 8:25:29 PM

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