TWEETING AND ALCOHOL DO NOT GO TOGETHER. According to USA Today, Kimesha Jackson is the promoter/event coordinator at Privae, a high end, popular nightclub located in Dallas. This past Friday, she tweeted that there were 12 Dallas Cowboy football players in the club, and that alcohol was flowing. "I have 12 Cowboys in the theeee building!!!!". According to another tweet, "These fools are buying Ace on top of Ace!!!!" Ace is believed to be Ace of Spades, a champagne that is often consumed by celebrities and is popular on the night club circuit. One of the players present was Jerry Brown, who died when the car he was riding in crashed. That car was driven by teammate Josh Brent. Brent has been arrested and charged with intoxication manslaughter. Earlier this year, Jackson tweeted "And the special orders these NBA players are *STILL* putting in for tomorrow...craziness! ACE.ACE.ACE. #PRIVAE SOLD OUT since Monday!" She also tweeted earlier this year that "The bottle requests that are flooding my texts rgt now...Glad we keep a crazy stock of Everything! Ace on deck! #NFLtakeover #PRIVAE". Now, the state is investigating whether alcohol was "served to somebody who was intoxicated, which is illegal in Texas," a spokeswoman for the Texas ABC Board said.
Practice pointers. So, what are the potential ramifications of the tweets? Will Ms. Jackson lose her job? Will Privae lose their liquor license? Will Privae be sued by Brown's estate for serving alcohol to an intoxicated patron, resulting in his death? If employees are tweeting, or using other social media to promote a company, the company should be aware of what is being said and make sure that it is not detrimental to the very existence of the company itself.
DEFAMATION LAWSUIT FILED FOR BAD REVIEW. The Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that Christopher Diaz, a Washington, D.C. home contractor has filed a suit against Jane Perez as a result of Perez posting negative comments on Yelp. Perez "listed a number of accusations , including damage to her home, an invoice for work the contractor did not perform and jewelry that disappeared." One post ended "Bottom line do not put yourself through this nightmare of a contractor." Dietz filed a $750,000 lawsuit, as well as a request for an injunction prohibiting Perez from posting any more reviews of his business. He alleges that customers fled from him, and he lost over $300,000 of business. Perez, a retired captain from the military, is now facing a large of amount in legal expenses in defending the lawsuit. Although she removed the posts because they came up first on a google search, she is standing by her reviews. According to the article, there was a $1.6 million verdict in California against a blogger who accused a company of stealing money from business associates. Also, a woman in Florida obtained a $11.3 million verdict against a woman who called her a "crook' and "con artist" in an internet forum. I am also familiar with other verdicts in the the hundreds of thousands of dollars in Georgia and Texas.
Practice pointer. Be careful what you post on line. Even if posted anonymously, there are ways to determine who posted it. Defamation is defamation, whether it is spread by word of mouth, in the newspaper, or on the internet. I expect to see more of these cases being filed in the future.
DON'T SURF THE WEB AND WALK AT THE SAME TIME. Closer to home, AL.com reported that UAB, using part of a $1.3 million NIH grant, found that crossing the street while surfing the web made it twice as likely that you would be hit or have a close call as when you crossed the street without a distraction. Using a virtual cross-walk in a UAB laboratory, students crossed with no distractions, and then crossed using their cell phones while surfing the web. With 92 participants, the study found that when surfing the web, their eyes were off the road 60% of the time, while their eyes were off the road less than 1% of the time when they weren't distracted. I would imagine that similar results could be found when surfing the web while driving, riding a bike, or other activities that need your attention. Be careful when using your phones when you shouldn't be.