In our opinion, what happened with the New Mexico article was NOT the right way to go for the courts. What are they thinking? Let’s make one thing clear, you just can’t go around saying whatever it is you want to about someone. There has to be some limitations, especially for those in the public eye in a position to public trust.
This is the type of case that gets a lot of headline news, people’s interest peaks when they hear about situations like this. Whether its local or national news, based on our experience, when information like that starts ranking highly on Google, then a couple things happen;
– People see it and believe it because “it is on the internet” and
– It emotionally destroys people.
Imagine that your neighbor came over to you and said, “YOURFIRSTNAME, I have some real concerns about what I am reading about you. It appears that you are a pedophile and I have young kids over here. And then they continue to judge you ” After trying hopelessly to defend yourself, you learn it was something they read on “Google”. Confused you go back, Google yourself and find that sitting on top of Google is a search result that says YOUR FULL NAME is a Pedophile – BEWARE!!!
Think this is fiction? We see it 10-15 times PER DAY. All it takes is that one person to write something bad, or false and off it goes like wildfire. You know what they say “tell one person and good thing and 10 people will know about it, tell one person a bad thing and 100 people will hear about it.”
In our opinion, rulings like this simply open up the door for people to sow severe emotional damage to their victims.
All the plaintiffs’ attorneys needed to do in this case was present an affidavit that showed damage to the priest’s reputation. The priest could even testify how his reputation has been damaged. This appears to be a factual issue that the plaintiffs’ attorneys could have easily addressed.