Zatuchni & Associates currently represents a former Fire Commissioner for Franklin Township, New Jersey, in a defamation suit against several individual fire company officers. The client, an Iraq war veteran who happens to be gay, opened a MySpace social networking account in 2004. At that time, all MySpace accounts were public and accessible by anyone by default. In fact, the only way MySpace users could keep their accounts private was by designating themselves as minors. Since he wanted his postings to remain strictly private and inaccessible to his military superiors, the client designated his MySpace age as under 16.
Several years later, as Fire Commissioner, the client called for audits of the Fire Companies that operated in the Franklin Township fire district. In his lawsuit, he claims that fire company officers responded to his audit requests by defaming him by falsely accusing him, among other things, of using his MySpace page in order to solicit and engage in illegal sexual acts with minors.
Local press coverage of the case may be read here. Recently, the fire company officers sought a judgment in their favor through a pre-trial summary judgment motion. Zatuchni & Associates, however, argued that the evidence of defamation was overwhelming and demanded a jury trial. The court agreed that the case should be decided by a jury, and Zatuchni & Associates is now preparing to try the case.
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