Minnesota Beekeeper Has To Pay Over $300,000 For Venting On Facebook
This is a fascinating case regarding freedom of speech and the internet. A Minnesota man found out the hard way that sometimes venting on social media like Facebook can cost you dearly.
We have all seen stories of people being caught on tape or writing something on social media that is terribly offensive and most of those people get caught and generally lose their jobs because of it. That is one thing, but how about going on social media and venting about a business?
Nick Olsen of Maple Lake Minnesota ended up having his posts cost him to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars for his posts. Here is what happened. Olsen who is a beekeeper purchased bees from a couple and they all died, so he took to Facebook to complain about it.
Nancy and Keith Budke of Wheaton, Minnesota have been in the bee business for more than 40 years and sold 75 Texas hives to Olsen. When Olsen got the bees home from Texas he realized they had all died in transit. He blamed the Budke's claiming that the bees were infected with diseases. He then went on Facebook and said the couple was "screwing ' him calling them all;l sorts of names and warning others not to buy bees from them.
According to the Star Tribune (Pay Wall): "Traverse County District Judge Amy Doll ruled in favor of the Budkes and sent the case to a jury to decide damages. In a verdict issued late last month, the jury awarded the couple $105,000 for business losses caused by the libel, $240,000 for loss of reputation, and $25,000 in punitive damages, for a total of $370,000."
The Budke's lawyer Ronald Frauenshuh Jr. of Ortonville said to Star Tribune (Pay Wall)
The award should send a chilling message to people who abuse and bully on Facebook and say things that aren't true. My goal is to help the Budkes regain some of their business. People have to be aware that these kinds of suits exist when you don't tell the truth on Facebook.
So lesson learned for us all be careful what you post on social media it could cost you your job or in this case a massive amount of money.