Dinn, Hochman & Potter, LLC

Ohio billboards lead company to bring suit

An Ohio man is the subject of a lawsuit leveled in July by a Texas company that operates gas wells within the state. The company, Buckeye Brine, says that the billboards that the man has put up are defamatory. The billboards make references to the Biblical book of Revelations and include statements about water pollution that will kill 'many man" as a result. The billboards say that the injection well process is poisoning the water. Ohio is one of the few states that permits drilling operators to dispose of waste water by injecting it back into the wells that are produced by the drilling process.

The company says that the wells are safe and that the man's messages are defamatory. The complaint states that the use of the word 'death" has no basis in fact and represents a malicious attack against the drilling operator. It also states that there is no evidence that any aquifers in Ohio have been contaminated by the injection process. The man who paid for the billboards says that his remarks are protected speech and that the complaint by Buckeye Brine misrepresents his statements.

Business litigation is a complex process, and plaintiffs may want to speak with a law firm before pursuing any legal action when they feel that their company may have been the victim of defamatory statements. An attorney may explain the difference between free speech actions, which are legal, and defamatory remarks, which may form that basis of a lawsuit.

A lawyer might also help a business build the case against the party that has made the statement. It is important to demonstrate to the court that the statements were false, that the at-fault party knew they were false and that the remarks are not categorized as protected speech.

Source: Upstream, "Company sues over 'defamatory' billboards", Luke Johnson, August 22, 2014

Source: Upstream, "Company sues over 'defamatory' billboards", Luke Johnson, August 22, 2014

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