08 November 2007

Contrary To The Busch Stadium Scoreboard, Name Redacted Does Not Have An STD

High school can be a tough enough time for kids. They don’t need libelous statements about them appearing on stadium scoreboards to boot. A Illinois woman is suing the St. Louis Cardinals for allowing a text message that falsely suggested her daughter has an sexually transmitted disease on the Busch Stadium scoreboard during a game.

According to the lawsuit, the teenager was with her classmates at Busch for a game against the Kansas City Royals on May 19, 2006, when a girl schoolmate called the ballpark's message board and, using the daughter's name, texted, "(A.B.) has an STD! Eww!"
According to the lawsuit, the 17-year old was so traumatized by the message that she was forced to stay out of school the rest of the semester, taking her finals in a school office to avoid the scorn of her classmates. The woman is seeking $25,000 in damages, claiming that the team “published the text consciously disregarding whether the text was true or not.” Oh yeah, and she didn't have an STD.

The timing of the lawsuit is curious, as the game wasn’t this past season, and it wasn’t even at the end of the previous season. The terrible text occurred a year and a half ago! Has she been this traumatized since then?

But by necessity it seems this kind of promotion is hard to regulate efficiently. They’re charging money for the texts, which have to get up there quickly. Things will slip through the cracks. The lawsuit claims that they disregarded whether the text is true or not. Held up to that standard, nothing could make it up there. Does Jimmy really love Michelle? Are your parents really happily wishing you a happy birthday? These wouldn’t hold up either. All we’d be left with are factual statements, and you can’t charge $2.99 for those.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sat out the rest of the semester out of embarrassment?? Jesus - grow some balls! Every slight is now a lawsuit.

This society is retarded.

Aaron said...

WOW, cry me a river! I was almost brought to the point of sympathy for the girl being that she is in high school and how impressionable those kids can be but the fact is that people play pranks no matter what stage of life they are in--get over it. I am known to some of my buddies by the nickname STD--thanks Justin, Andres, and Tom!! They started calling me that cause I dated a lot, not because I called them from the Dr.'s office saying "GUESS WHAT I HAVE??" They call me that all the time, in person at social events and through electronic communications--it hasn't deterred me from getting/keeping a job and I still have an active dating/social life. I would really hate to think that this prank caused this young girl so much grief. She really should have just played along with the prank, thrown her own text up on the board, and had a good time at the ball game. Cause guess what, now that she stayed home the rest of the year, took exams in the councelors office, and is involved in a $25,000K lawsuit, the person that put the text up there is probably thinking "WOW, maybe she really does have an STD...EWWWW!!!" Good luck with the lawsuit and the Herpes!

TacoBellManager said...

Sorry folks, but you're all wrong. The content in question is defamatory on its face, untrue, and the plaintiff is not a public figure. The Cardinals should be thrilled to get out of this for $25K.

I'm betting there's no way in hell the St. Louis management would set up a system whereby people could text in FUCK, SHIT, PUSSY etc and see it on the scoreboard. So if it would be irresponsible not to set controls/monitoring for that, wouldn't it be irresponsible not to set controls/monitoring for obvious slander?

Newspapers that print libel in the letters-to-the-editor column are just as liable for the injury to someone's reputation as the person who wrote the letter. It's a similar situation here. Someone else might own the responsibility for saying something untrue, but the amplification offered by the Cardinals means they have a duty, too.

Anonymous said...

Aaron, it's not because you date a lot but because of the "quality" of girls you claimed that you have dated. Also, it all started because of a comment you made about your methods of protection! You may have been joking about it, but that's where the nickname came from.

Aaron said...

Sorry to say taco, but we are not wrong; my comment was an opinion and not based on factual evidence that can/will be used against the Cardinals organization by the young lady in question. I do not wish to sit here and argue whether or not the girl in question has a case in a court of law. I do believe however that this will be a dispute reconciled without either side entering a courtroom. And to counter your issue with how the organization filters "obvious slander" that are displayed on the jumbotron, you have to identify the source in which is being used to block such messages. It is much easier to block content (i.e FUCK, SHIT, PUSSY etc) than it is to block context (i.e "A.B. has an STD! Eww!") in a message.

davidbritnn said...

Ah, folks....this is a pretty bad fake. You can actually see the actually board with game action behind what was superimposed. Just look at the edges of the black message box. Though it is funny.

Anonymous said...

of course this picture is a fake but the whole thing is not. i was at the game and go to school with the girl. hr initials were not used at the game it was her full name. for the part that she missed the rest of school - there was only a week or two left of school after the game and she did not miss every day. she is also probably one of the people that would be rumored to have an STD in our school because of her sexual activity

Anonymous said...

Taco - your legal analysis isn't right. The court will have to determine how the stadium message board should be treated. While she likely would have a case if it were printed in a newspaper, that standard may not apply here. For instance see the protection that is given to people that run internet message boards that allow comments to be posted. Assuming that the Cardinals do not moderate the text messages that they put up (which appears likely), they likely will avoid liability.

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