The computer repair shop owner that found himself embroiled in controversy surrounding Hunter Biden and his laptop as the presidential election drew near last year brought a lawsuit in federal court against tech giant Twitter for defamation. His case has been thrown out before trial by a federal judge appointed by Barack Obama.
Mac Isaac said in his case that Twitter defamed him through statements it made about its decision to stifle reporting by the New York Post regarding the laptop and the Biden family. The Post published an expose about the laptop’s content, which of course cast doubt on Joe Biden’s qualifications to serve as president.
Twitter decided to block the story from being shared by its users or being viewed on its platform. An explanation of that decision, Twitter said that the contents of the laptop had been “hacked.” This statement effectively cast Isaac as a “hacker” in the eyes of the American public.
Issac alleged that as a result of that statement being made, he was forced from business and received multiple credible threats, suffering economic loss as a result.
Even though Twitter enjoys immunity from many lawsuits because of Section 230, that immunity is only for statements made by users on their platform. In this case, Section 230 does not apply because Isaac was suing Twitter for statements it made directly, not for something a user stated.
The judge in the case has now dismissed Isaac’s case, based on an interpretation of Florida defamation law, which was decided to apply in the case. The decision misses the mark on the application of Florida law, which provides that a plaintiff does not need to be personally named in a publication to state a defamation case.
The law only requires that a defamatory statement “contains sufficient facts or references from which the “average person can identify the injured person” upon reading” the statement.
Judge Beth Bloom dismissed the case anyway, finding that Isaac’s identity would have been known from reading Twitter’s statement alone. The judge also applied a provision of law that seems a bad fit in the case to impose an order on Isaac, forcing him to pay the fees for Twitter’s lawyers.
Even though the reasoning appears to be flawed, it is unknown at this time if Isaac will be able to afford to appeal the case, given that he is now unemployed.