Covington, Ky. A gossip website operator who lost a defamation lawsuit brought by a former Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader plans to appeal, and some First Amendment lawyers warn the verdict could adversely affect other websites.
A federal court jury in Covington, Ky., awarded Sarah Jones $338,000 in damages Thursday, finding that posts about Jones on the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based website thedirty.com in 2009 were substantially false.
The jury also found website operator Nik Richie acted with malice or reckless disregard in posting the submissions he said were anonymous.
One post alleged Jones had sex with every Bengals player, and the other said she probably had two sexually transmitted diseases. Jones said the posts were false and caused her severe mental anguish.