Twitter and the Lawsuit Happy Landlord

Lawyer in Court
Among today’s Twitter trendy topics I want to share this little story with you:

An ex tenant in Chicago twitters about a bad experience she had with a Chicago based Landlord. The landlord sues her seeking $ 50,000 in damages.

The Chicago Sun Times came with the news. Mashable picked it up.

The sheep in Twitterville are deeply upset about the Landlord who allegedly commented “We’re a sue first, ask questions later kind of an organization,”

Now, again according to Mashable, the Landlord comes with a press release:

For Immediate Release
July 28, 2009
The following statement can be attributed to Company X [name deleted ed.]

The response to our libel lawsuit has been tremendous. We would like to take this opportunity to clarify some confusion concerning the circumstances surrounding our lawsuit against Mrs B [name changed ed.]
I would first like to take this opportunity to apologize for tongue in cheek comments that were made previously regarding our approach to litigation. This statement is not in line with our philosophy towards property management and was taken out of context.

I need to set the record straight on a number of issues.

The facts that gave rise to this Twitter lawsuit were discovered in the course of due diligence relating to a class·action lawsuit first filed by Ms. B. [ed.] relating to alleged Chicago Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance (RL TO) violations. It is our position that this lawsuit is completely baseless and was waged merely as a pretext to address an underlying disagreement that Ms. B. had with regards to her apartment. This is a classic example of tenants trying to manipulate the controversial RL TO for their benefit.

No mold was ever found but her unit was one of several that experienced an overnight leak during roof repairs in late March 2009 caused by an error made by an external contractor. At that time. we immediately contacted all affected tenants to assess and resolve any reported water damage that occurred during these repairs. Ultimately, all tenant grievances were quickly and amicably resolved, except Ms. B.[ed.]

She moved out of her unit on her own volition June 30, 2009 at which time there was no evidence of mold in her apartment.

On June 24th, much to our surprise given her previous silence. Mrs B sued X, and we are currently defending this claim which. again, we believe has no merit. In conducting our due diligence into this matter, we identified B.’s [ed.] public Tweet regarding mold and acted to protect our reputation just as we would for any other related comment made in a public forum.

As you can imagine, allegations of mold are taken very seriously by our organization . We are proud of the fact that Company X [ed.] is recognized as one of Chicago’s premiere apartment leasing and management companies because we understand the importance of quality customer service and a well·maintained living environment.

We look forward to presenting our side of this matter before the court and putting the unfounded accusations of a single, former tenant behind us so we can focus on continuing to serve our more than 1,500 existing tenants throughout the Chicagoland area . ~

So there is more than just a claim for one tweet…. However it is once more a warning sign:

Be always careful what and how you communicate on the world wide web: The lady in question will shed some tears as well as the Landlord who made the “tongue in cheek” comment…. same counts for hotel reviews… I’ve read already about a case in Florida about a hotel suing a reviewer because he had insinuated the hotel was gaining from improper guest behavior (Unfortunately I forgot to jot down the corresponding links)….

Latest edit July 30, 2009:

Originally I had embedded a scribd version of the press release as provided by Mashable. However in checking my code at W3 org I noticed the scribd embedding code created a lot of errors while I have enough eroors to cope with already…. Now I copied and pasted the original scribd file.

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