The Pizza Kitchen faces social media libel lawsuit

By: Sara Shookman Email
By: Sara Shookman Email

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The Pizza Kitchen offers fans of its pie a chance to "get social" by interacting with them on Facebook and Twitter. But what they shared about their marketing company could cost them a lot of dough.

According to a Knox County Circuit Court filing, owner Travis Redmon posted last month, ""Don't EVER use Lowandtritt marketing firm." The lawsuit says Redmon posted, "Crooks - stolen email list and have tried to pressure me by threat of lawsuit to sign a license agreement to use their marketing materials."

The next day the comments continued on Twitter. "Lowentritt marketing firm has done it again." "Can you believe that they have not only stolen my email list but have no hacked Pizza Kitchen's facebook page taking it offline?"

Low and Tritt filed the lawsuit Sept. 1, charging the Pizza Kitchen with libel.

"The claim is that the posting on the Twitter page that was not accurate about the marketing company," says Pamela Reeves. Reeves is partner of Reeves, Herbert & Murrian P.A., the office representing Low and Tritt in the case.

"It opens up lots of opportunities for defamation," she says. Defamation - where a false comment damages the reputation of an individual or business - depends on the comment being untrue.

"If the statements that are made are accurate statements, you're not defamed. It's simply making an observation that's true," says Reeves. "Obviously our clients feel that that's not the situation here."

Twitter and Facebook have become a great way to sound off online. But it's a reminder that you have an audience.

"Remember you always have the possibility of causing someone serious harm when you make those statements on the web," says Reeves. "Unless you know you're fully protecting yourself, you should be careful what you say."

Volunteer TV contacted Low and Tritt and The Pizza Kitchen. Both companies refused to comment on the pending litigation. The defense has until Oct. 1 to respond to the suit.


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  • by Wouldn't Know Location: Knoxville, TN on Nov 24, 2009 at 09:07 AM
    I guess some people should learn to keep their big mouths shut when spewing unintelligent nonsense. I hope the owner learns a lesson from this.
  • by Brenna Location: Knoxville on Nov 23, 2009 at 10:06 AM
    Social Media Club Knoxville's Winter Panel will be discussing this case along with Social Media Liability, Ethics & Policy at the Square Room December 1st. http://smcknox.ning.com/events/smc-knoxville-winter-panel
  • by M Bowlus Location: Jacksonville, Florida on Oct 28, 2009 at 11:59 AM
    Malicious statements intended to damage the personal and business reputation of the victim, in any medium, should not be tolerated. It is not a statement of opinion to call someone a thief with the intent to cause them harm, knowing it's not true. The use of such a wide spread medium is indicative of the intent to cause that harm. It's not a pay day for the victim. It's an expensive process to seek justice and defend your reputation through the court system. No one undertakes such a case lightly. It exposes you to further ridicule as the defendant uses the suit to further the slander with the same intent and impunity. There are not damages a jury might award that will compensate the victim for the loss of privacy and WWW ridicule he has and will suffer as a result of the statements made by the defendant. It's wrong to lie. It's wrong to lie about other people with the intent to harm them. It's a shame that it takes a jury to make that point clear to some folks. Apologize?
  • by jon Location: maryville on Oct 5, 2009 at 02:03 PM
    Maybe Low and Tritt could sue me for my opinions too. Freedom of speech ... that's another country
  • by Anonymous on Sep 30, 2009 at 03:12 PM
    Sorry Pizza Kitchen is at fault they ought yo know not to put any info on twitter or facebook. That was our favorite place to go but we stopped going because of the changes the owner has done. Expecially the prices
  • by matt Location: knoxville on Sep 25, 2009 at 01:05 PM
    It seems to me that this firm has taken thier bad reputation off of Facebook but now it's on Volunteer TV. Hmmmm. You would think that a marketing firm would know better. I don't believe that I would hire them to promote my business.
  • by The dude Location: Are you fro real on Sep 24, 2009 at 08:39 PM
    So this is what happens when grown men were picked on when they were little!!
  • by Anonymous Location: Knoxville on Sep 23, 2009 at 04:13 PM
    This is right up there with a burglar suing a home owner b/c he broke his back by stepping on a skate board inside the home he had broke into. Come on now. I'd like to see The Pizza Kitchen turn this around and sue this so called marketing firm and win. But, I bet The Pizza Kitchen will take the high road.
  • by TA Location: TN on Sep 23, 2009 at 02:30 PM
    So, let me see if I understand this. If someone hurts your feelings (or manhood) by telling the truth, you should just sue them. The courts have a lot of extra time and the taxpayers have a lot of extra money to fund a frivolous lawsuit like this. Right?????
  • by Jamie Location: Knoxville,TN on Sep 23, 2009 at 11:01 AM
    Wow...I think this article is doing exactly what Pizza Kitchen is being accused of. Looks like this so called marketing firm is trying to try this case in the paper and make the owner look bad. I would counter sue for $4million. I dont live close to the place but I may go have a pizza and a beer just to support small business in Knoxville.
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