INTERNET REPUTATION DAMAGES – EXPERT WITNESS SERVICES
**NOTE: If you are an attorney, we will be happy to provide an initial free consultation. We see such a large number cases per year (from early stage all the way to expert testimony), that we understand the ins and outs of what can and cannot be done.
One of the challenges faced in internet defamation is determining the extent of damages that internet defamation causes. As an attorney, you want to appropriately recover damages for your client and ensure that their reputation is not impacted months or years into the future. If you can prove lost revenues, then that is one level of damages. But what about the potential ongoing (lifetime) costs if material still stays on the internet, i.e., online reputation management?
For victims of internet defamation, determining the extent of these future costs can be a difficult task because of a few factors:
- Many items are permanent on the internet
- Few techniques exist to remove damage
- Techniques to restore reputation are varied in quality
- Attorneys on both sides are inexperienced in internet issues
For individuals that are victims, cleanup often requires a very intense period of cleanup followed by a lifetime of additional, smaller tweaks; i.e., many reputation cases are not a “fix it and done” type scenario. It is not uncommon to see these costs mount rapidly into the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. This, of course, is often meet with claims of disbelief from opposing counsel. For example, we have often faced the situation where we see cleanup costing millions of dollars yet opposing counsel obtaining a “quote” for $1,500. Getting out of this quagmire is not easy without the techniques and facts to handle.
If you are an attorney working a defamation claim, either in the pre-litigation or litigation stage, we can substantially help you with damage assessments, best methods of cleanup, and expert testimony.
Example cases where we have been involved include:
1Medical Testing Company Attacked By Doctor, Loses 90% Of Revenue
This company had been attacked by a competitor and its lead flow was down 90% from a SINGLE item placed on the internet. While originally a vibrant company, this company now faces extinction because of an action that took 15 minutes to place on the internet.
We are part of the legal/expert team that is designing appropriate measures to correct the situation pre-litigation. Opposing counsel, who was totally unfamiliar with how internet cleanup actually works, came up with cost estimates and quotes that would have left the company helpless. We helped our counsel develop a risk reversal strategy where the unlawful poster (a doctor) would be on the hook for damages today and ongoing for the life of the company.
2Private Pictures Distributed By Executive Of Major Company
This individual, in a widely publicized case, had her reputation radically changed by pictures that were provided privately to a company executive, then being posted by the executive on an internet blog site. To make matters worse, the case’s publicity then caused both pictures and commentary to spread out in a viral manner across the internet.
As part of the expert team, Dr. Chris Anderson (Co-Founder of CIS), helped counsel understand what had to be implemented for cleanup. Unfortunately, there was no possibility to clean up quickly and thus required developing specifications to deal with these issues for the lifetime of the victim.
3Frat Boys Gone Wild – Pictures Blanket The Internet
In a matter of minutes, an incoming freshman’s life was ruined via a cell phone and Facebook. During a party at the fraternity, the victim received copious amounts of alcohol and was then talked into posing for inappropriate pictures. These pictures then landed on a private website for the fraternity, after which they were sent to people across the country. This material then rapidly landed on the internet, after which the story and the pictures took on a viral nature.
As part of the team working for the victim, we demonstrated by using a panel of 50 unbiased people that this girl’s reputation was destroyed. Similarly, we demonstrated that the cost to clean up the mess was several million dollars. This case is in the process of settling with insurance company’s involvement.