Online Defamation: Defending Reputations and Speech in Cyberspace (On Demand Seminar)

MCLE Credits: 2.0
Ethics Credits Included: 0.0

MCLE Credit: 2.0 (Ethics: 0.0)
Live-Interactive Credit: 0.0
Designation Credit: 2.0 Trial Practice/Litigation (Designations Information)
Price: $149 (Includes a downloadable audio version.)
Viewable Through: 05/31/2023


A pre-recorded streaming video replay of the May 2020 webcast, Online Defamation: Defending Reputations and Speech in Cyberspace.

Topics Covered

  • Understand the underlying law of defamation
  • Learn the additional challenges presented by online speech
  • Explore other options for removing or countering reputational attacks

Defamation cases continue to make the news. Former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos’ case against President Donald Trump, Rep. Devin Nunes’ case against Twitter, Johnny Depp’s case against ex-wife Amber Heard, Vernon Unsworth’s case against Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s case against Secretary Clinton, and Nicole Eramo’s (UVA) case against Rolling Stone are only the most recent examples. All highlight the ongoing battle between freedom of speech versus freedom from reputational attack. The ease of online publication likely makes future cases even more numerous.

This seminar covers the basics of defamation law and the complexities of defamation cases in the 21st century Internet world. Issues will be examined in the context of real-world cases, and current legislative efforts to curb abusive defamation lawsuits, yet protect online reputations, will also be analyzed.

Among the topics to be discussed are:

  • Fact versus opinion statements in the social media context
  • Where to sue or be sued (and what law governs) with online statements
  • Unmasking anonymous defamers in John Doe cases
  • Removing negative reviews and Section 230 website immunity
  • Other relevant cyber laws in defamation cases
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Joseph L. Meadows, Bean Kinney & Korman PC / Arlington
Andy Phillips, Clare Locke LLP / Alexandria


Joseph L. Meadows, Bean Kinney & Korman PC / Arlington
Joe Meadows is a former DOJ trial attorney and current partner with Bean, Kinney & Korman. He is an experienced litigator, focusing on complex civil litigation, Internet defamation/disparagement, and cyber-attack matters. He has tried over 20 cases before judges and juries, arbitrated commercial disputes, and argued trial and appellate matters in federal and state courts. Mr. Meadows has litigated matters and counseled corporate and individual clients on business disputes, Internet defamation, product disparagement, online reviews, intellectual property infringement, impersonation, cyber-harassment, domain name hacking, anonymity defenses under the First Amendment, anti-SLAPP laws, Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and Communications Decency Act Section 230. He founded Internet defamation practice areas at his current and prior law firms. He is connected with a number of digital forensics and public relations experts. He has been retained as an expert witness in defamation law and featured as a defamation litigator on radio shows. Prior to joining Bean, Kinney & Korman in 2018, Mr. Meadows was a civil litigator for almost 15 years at Crowell & Moring, LLP, headquartered in Washington, DC. He started his legal career at the Department of Justice, Tax Division, where he received the Tax Division's Outstanding Attorney Award in 2000. He was the lead trial attorney and a consulting appellate attorney in the United States Supreme Court case, In re Young, 233 F.3d 56 (2000).

Andy Phillips, Clare Locke LLP / Alexandria
Andy Phillips joined Clare Locke LLP as a Senior Associate in May 2014 and was elevated to Partner in 2017.  Before joining Clare Locke, he was a litigator at Kirkland & Ellis LLP, one of the nation’s premier large law firms. His practice focuses on a broad range of litigation matters before both federal and state courts, with a particular emphasis on defamation advising and litigation.  Mr. Phillips regularly represents major corporations from a wide variety of industries and sectors, including food production, medical device manufacturing, cybersecurity services, venture capital, and even news media. He also represents individuals facing reputational attacks. He served as co-lead trial counsel representing UVA administrator Nicole P. Eramo in her defamation lawsuit against defendants Rolling Stone magazine and reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely regarding the discredited article entitled “A Rape on Campus.” Mr. Phillips has taught continuing legal education courses and guest-lectured at universities regarding the law of defamation. In 2014 and from 2017 through 2019, he was named a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers magazine in general litigation.

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