Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Skank update, with pictures, and a little more law

The Girl in Short Shorts blog, by a self-described "recovering attorney, post-modern neo-feminist, enthusiastic regenerated dyke, unlikely punk, nice Catholic girl, passionate freedom-loving libertarian, thinking conservative, sappy romantic, spiritual redneck, softball enthusiast, shopaholic and unrepentant flirt," does much to advance the story of Liskula Cohen, the 36-year-old (or as one of my commenters described her, "90 in people years") New York model who has sued over a blog that dared call her a "skank." Girl in Short Shorts provides what appears to be extensive photographic evidence that could convince a reasonable juror that the label about which Ms. Cohen complains is, in fact, quite fitting. This is legally significant. For even if New York courts disagree with their California brethren who have determined that an accusation of skankiness cannot be defamatory, the Supreme Court of the whole US has said that truth is always a defense.

Incidentally, the Daily News story on the skank suit says that Cohen sued Google, which merely owns the Blogger service that hosts Skanks in NYC (but which, adhering to its promise not be be "evil," presumably did not itself call Ms. Cohen a "skank"). Assuming that the Daily News' description of the suit is accurate (i.e., that it actually names Google as a defendant), then I predict the likelihood of Google winning a motion to dismiss is approximately 100%. Under section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the host of a blog enjoys virtually absolute immunity for material posted by others. Whether Ms. Cohen can persuade a court to force Google to cough up the IP address(es) of whoever posted the accusations of skankiness is a different, and interesting, question. Having those IP addresses would, of course, would help Ms. Cohen locate the more appropriate defendant(s).

Now I'm off to research whether I can sue Ms. Girl in Short Shorts for referring to me as "somber."


  1. First, thanks for answering the eternal question, "Who wears short shorts?" [Other than the 1986 Celtics, that is.]

    Cohen's first problem, as evidenced by her Friendster page, is that she has a Friendster page. That's the Internet equivalent of wearing spats while driving an Edsel.

  2. Is there any legal relevance to whether you consider "skank" synonymous with "slut"? I know in olden times it was per se defamatory to impugn a woman's chastity, but I doubt that standard will get you paid in 2009. Then again, I don't read much, so I'm asking.


Comments here are moderated. I appreciate substantive comments, whether or not they agree with what I've written. Stay on topic, and be civil. Comments that contain name-calling, personal attacks, or the like will be rejected. If you want to rant about how evil the RIAA and MPAA are, and how entertainment companies' employees and attorneys are bad people, there are plenty of other places for you to go.