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TMCNet:  Understanding the Verdict in the Courtney Love Landmark 'Twibel' Defamation Case

[January 27, 2014]

Understanding the Verdict in the Courtney Love Landmark 'Twibel' Defamation Case

SAN DIEGO --(Business Wire)--

Overlooked in the widespread media reports about the now landmark Courtney Love defamation case was the fact that the jury voted unanimously that rock singer Courtney Love did in fact issue a false tweet about San Diego attorney Rhonda Holmes, when the rocker tweeted in 2010 that Holmes had been "bought off," said the law firm of Gordon & Holmes, San Diego, CA (News - Alert), in a statement issued today.

And, the jury also voted unanimously, 12-0, that Courtney Love intended the tweet to be viewed as a fact.

But, in a split vote (9-3), the panel judged that Love did not know the tweet was false, and because of that, no damages were awarded.

"I am disappointed that the media focused almost exclusively on the fact that no monetary damages were awarded, which the opposing side trumps as a victory," said Frederic Gordon of Gordon & Holmes, San Diego, and Rhonda Holmes' law partner. "Bu the media regrettably overlooked the more important verdicts that my partner had been the subject of Ms. Love's false tweet for more than three years, and that Ms. Holmes was completely vindicated in court."

The defamation case - nicknamed "twibel" for twitter and libel - was the first in California that ruled that what a person says on twitter can be defamatory.

The jury also voted 11-1 that a person learning of the tweet would reasonably understand that the tweet would "have a natural tendency to injure Rhonda Holmes'" reputation and business.

"This case was all about proving that Ms. Love's tweet that Ms. Holmes had been 'bought off' was false and defamatory," said Gordon. "We set out to uphold and confirm that Ms. Holmes' stellar reputation was intact and this jury verdict confirms exactly that - we consider this a major victory and an important and necessary step in rehabilitating Ms. Holmes' reputation."

About Gordon & Holmes

Headquartered in San Diego, Calif, Gordon & Holmes is one of the nation's leading law firms specializing in complex business litigation, including food borne illness, condemnation and civil litigation, intellectual property, eminent domain and real estate. Firm partners Fred Gordon and Rhonda Holmes are highly effective attorneys who have tried more than 60 Jury trials and over 100 non-jury cases. For more information, call 619-696-0444 or visit

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