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Frank D'Angelo, the president of the Hamilton-based Steelback Brewery, has been engaged in a very public feud with Ottawa-based blogger Neate Sager and his hockey-centric (though not exclusively puck-headed) site Out of Left Field. Late Monday, the Canadian Press reported that D'Angelo filed a $2-million lawsuit against Sager last week in a Newmarket, Ont. court, alleging that Sager damaged D'Angelo's reputation on his blog between August 2006 and January of this year by calling him (among other things) a "huckster" and a "con man." Sager also allegedly referred to his interest in purchasing the Pittsburgh Penguins as a "charade." From the Globe and Mail:
"The fact is that the conduct of the defendant in failing to remove the offending entries from his website, his failure to issue an apology and his public mockery of the notice letter has aggravated the damages suffered," the claim says. "The defendant did not provide a balanced view and provided no opportunity to the plaintiff to respond to the aspersions made against him."...Luckily for Neate, his sparring partner decided to file a multi-million dollar lawsuit, which guarantees even more "notoriety" and "attention" for his
...Mr. D'Angelo, an Ontario businessman who also owns a downtown Toronto restaurant as well as a brand of energy drink and a line of apple juice, says in the claim that he issued a notice letter to Mr. Sager back in February expressing his concern. He argues Mr. Sager "promptly posted" the letter on his website and mocked its contents.
Mr. Sager "refused to remove the offending references" from his site and "revelled in the prospect of being pursued for damages for libel" for the "notoriety" and "attention" it brought him, the claim says.
Since it's now on the public record, I have to say my position is any libel issues pertaining to Out of Left Field and Frank D'Angelo were adequately addressed several weeks ago. It's regrettable it's come to this point, but the choice is to fight for what's right, namely the right to free speech as it relates to the written word on the web. I'm confident that there's a way reasonable people can work this out, and I am a reasonable person.In one of the first of what I imagine will be many comments in the blogosphere about this suit, Carl from the Unofficial Ottawa Lynx Blog smells poppycock:
I've read the "offending" posts, and honestly, I can't see anything that remotely resembles libel. And believe me, politically I'm on the "right" side of the spectrum - I think there are limits when it comes to speech and decency, and my bias is towards drawing the line fairly, let's say, close. This stuff isn't anywhere near my line, or the line, period.
Out Of Left Field: FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT, JUST FOR THE RECORD