Thomas E. Albro honored by VTLA with the Lifetime Achievement Award

At the Greenbrier on April 1, 2017, Thomas E. Albro received the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The award is one of the highest honors bestowed by the VTLA, and has been awarded only three other times since its inception. The VTLA Lifetime Achievement Award is meant to “recognize a lawyer in practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia for more than 25 years who has exercised effective leadership within VTLA and who has demonstrated lifelong dedication to VTLA’s mission and principles.” Other criteria for the award require that the recipient’s work “demonstrates a compassion and commitment to advocacy on behalf of consumers” and that the individual has “contributed to the advancement of the profession and served the public through teaching, community service, charitable giving or other pro bono work.” Previous recipients of the award are Richard Railey, Sr., Bob Hall, and Betty A. Thompson....

Social Media Defamation in Virginia

Facebook, the largest social media network in the world, published about thirty-one million messages and posts per minute in 2015. Instagram, Twitter, and Linkedin boast smaller numbers, but not by much. As social networks have expanded, so have the cases in which plaintiffs have successfully recovered damages for defamatory statements made on social media sites. Cases like Courtney Love’s have even created new terms of art in defamation, like ‘Twibel,’ which means a libelous statement made on the Twitter platform. The important thing to remember about social media defamation is that there are no special legal rules for social media postings. However, there are often special considerations for measuring damages caused by defamatory social media posts.   The Law of Social Media Defamation The standard for whether a statement is defamatory in Virginia is the same for social media posts as by any other method of publication. To support a defamation action, Virginia requires the plaintiff to show that the defendant issued: a publication about the plaintiff containing an actionable statement with the requisite intent. Fleming v. Moore, 221 Va. 884, 275 S.E.2d 632 (1981). (Note: This is a simplified version of the law of defamation in Virginia). Whether the statement was made on an e-mail listserv, by handwritten letter, or by P.A. system, the basic requirements for defamation are the same. Contrary to what some defendants might believe, statements made on social media are no less “serious” than defamatory statements that are published by media outlets.   Measuring Damages in Social Media Cases The normal rules of defamation law apply to social media posts, but there are special...