Tampa lawyer sues over anonymous online review

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

A Tampa divorce and family law attorney is a central figure in a precedent-setting case now on appeal in the state of Washington.

The Tampa Bay Times reports that Deborah Thomson filed a defamation suit against an anonymous reviewer on the attorney ratings web site Avvo.com. She has asked courts in Seattle, where Avvo is based, to enforce a subpoena for information that would unmask her anonymous critic.

Among other things, she argues that the First Amendment does not protect defamatory speech.

Thomson wrote a response that Avvo posted right below her critic’s review.

A Washington trial judge denied Thomson’s request to force Avvo to turn over Doe’s records, saying she failed to sufficiently establish the case behind her defamation claim.