Bryant aldermen sue ‘unknown persons’ for defamation, cyberbullying
Bryant aldermen Adrian Henley, Brenda Miller and Danny Steele filed suit in Saline County Circuit Court yesterday alleging that “unknown persons” had posted defamatory comments against them on MySaline.com.
The complaint against the unknown persons alleges that the comments posted on the online forum are false, defamatory and rise to the level of cyberbullying as they are threatening, abusive, alarming, etc. The lawsuit identifies the defendants only by their MySaline.com user names and alleges that thousands of people have read the abusive, defamatory and libelous comments over the past year. An “evidence preservation notice” was filed along with the lawsuit and it requests Shelli Russell, owner of MySaline.com, to keep any information which might identify the unknown defendants.
Russell said she has received a copy of the notice and will do what she can to preserve the requested evidence.
“It chaps my hide and it’s a lot of work. I can see how the litigants would want to find whether any of the anonymous MySaline members would be city officials divulging information,” she said, adding that she’s gratified her site has evolved into a popular forum for Saline County residents. “I’m happy to provide a service that means so much to the community.”
The question, of course, is whether Russell is obliged to turn over any information identifying the MySaline posters to the plaintiffs. Russell said she plans to retain an attorney and ask that very question. It’s worth mentioning that MySaline has not been sued — Russell has merely been asked to not dispose of any information that leads to the identities of the unknown defendants.
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email = Ethan@FirstArkansasNews.net.