Michael Gaffney’s civil lawsuit against Turtleboy Sports that accused the online blog of fraud and libel was dismissed, and, after Mr. Gaffney filed a recent motion asking the judge to reconsider, it was denied Friday. Mr. Gaffney, a lawyer and former Worcester city councilor, sued co-defendants Aidan Kearney of Holden and Turtleboy Digital Marketing LLC and Turtleboy Enterprises LLC of Worcester in December 2017. Mr. Gaffney accused the defendants of libel and overstating its readership. Mr. Gaffney once bought advertising from the blog. The blog at one point endorsed Mr. Gaffney and his candidacy for the city council, but later revoked its support. Mr. Gaffney’s complaint centered on a pair of Turtleboy Sports blogs about Mr. Gaffney in November 2017 and one from January.
Regarding the claim of libel, Judge Gerald Lemire wrote in his decision that statements of opinion are constitutionally protected and “thus are not actionable.”
Further, the judge found that Mr. Gaffney is a public figure and the legal standard for libel was “heightened.” The judge said Mr. Gaffney had to show the statements were false and made with malice.
To Mr. Gaffney’s argument that he was defamed, the judge ruled that the blog’s statements were constitutionally protected expressions of opinion, based upon the medium in which they were made and the audience for which they were published. Nor, too, could Mr. Gaffney’s allegation of negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress be established. The judge cited Supreme Judicial Court case law that found “when statements are non-actionable opinion one cannot establish the derivative claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress.”
Finally, to Mr. Gaffney’s allegation the blog committed fraud by representing it drew more than 1 million page views monthly, the judge noted that Mr. Gaffney had advertised with the defendant since 2015. On March 1, 2017, the parties agreed for advertisement to continue at $300 per month for six months. The judge said Mr. Gaffney hadn’t inquired about the number of page views the defendant’s blog received monthly, which was at a time “the plaintiff was writing blogs for the defendant, and the defendants were supporting the plaintiff politically and professionally in their blog.”
Mr. Gaffney, in turn, expressed support for Turtleboy Sports and even inquired about purchasing the blog at that time, according to the judge. Mr. Gaffney filed a motion for reconsideration on Oct. 15, indicating Turtleboy’s Jan. 5 blog stated it had 1.2 million page views, which Mr. Gaffney said contradicted the defendant’s affidavit that no conversation took place concerning page views, and that the defendant’s testimony contradicted his affidavit. But the judge was unconvinced and denied the motion.
Ouch!! Things keep getting worse for Milky Mike. At least he’s still got Coreen though right?
Look at the bright side Mike, at least you don’t have to keep flying up here from Florida or Dallas or wherever you’re squandering in irrelevance now. You’ll have way more time for squats.
And you won’t have to chop down half the rainforest to print out whatever all this was.