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While doing research on the question of bloggers being journalists or not, I came across a rather curious term: The Gertz rule. Upon reading the case law behind this term, I began to wonder how this would apply to the civil case that Deric Lostutter filed against his critics.

Upon doing some more research on the Gerts rule, I came to the conclusion that Deric’s civil case may be in a bit of trouble.

An attorney, Elmer Gertz sued Robert Walsh for Libel. Walsh through his publication American Opinion, accused Gertz being a Communist and participating in the Communist campaign against local police.

Gertz sued and won.

Now, at first glance one would think this helps Deric’s case. It does not. In a subsequent case that I cited in my prior article, the transcripts point out something that does not help Deric and just might point to his ultimately losing the case.

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If I read this correctly, the plaintiff in that case did not prove that the statements by the defendant were false. The court again ruled that the blogger was afforded the same first amendment rights as professional journalists.

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The problem for Deric is that the various defendants have backed up their criticisms against Deric with provable facts, coming from his own words and actions on line. As for the name calling and other points Deric cites in his civil lawsuit, he may or may not have a case.

As of this writing, the decision by the court regarding the motion to dismiss the Lostutter civil suit has not been reached.

With his sentencing 3 weeks away as of this writing, the civil lawsuit is the least of Deric’s worries.

Stay tuned