Blogger Shellee Hale Wants Court to Reconsider Too Much Media Decision

Aug 5, 2009 10:45 AM PST
FREEHOLD, N.J. — The defendant in a suit brought on by Too Much Media over alleged defamatory comments on a message board about the affiliate management software company claims a New Jersey judge overstepped his authority when he ruled against her.

Shellee Hale’s attorney, Jeffrey Pollock, contends in a 53-page motion filed last week that she is entitled to a reconsideration of a recent opinion because of several legal errors.

Last month, Superior Court Judge Louis Locascio ruled Hale is not shielded by New Jersey’s newsperson’s privilege and that her motion to protect sources of information is denied.

Locascio ruled that Hale, who holds a respiratory therapy degree and a private investigator's license in Washington state, "is neither a journalist nor a member of the media: she is a private person with unexplained motives for her postings."

With the ruling intact, Too Much Media would be allowed to sue her for defamation.

Hale’s connection with the online adult industry has been one best described as adversarial.

She was so incensed by the pervasiveness of adult material on the Internet in 2007 that she took it upon herself to begin an antiporn campaign, which included gathering intelligence on the industry and developing a website called Pornafia.com.

According to court filings, she attended several adult entertainment industry conventions and created the monikers Sexyteaser and Sexyteaserguys, which she used to interact on various adult industry websites, including GFY.com and Oprano.com.

Hale later posted on Oprano that Too Much Media failed to inform customers of a security breach because she alleged it was making money off of it. The posts in 2007 alleged that breached Too Much Media data could have given hackers access to names and addresses of account holders, which the company denies.

New Jersey-based Too Much Media sued Hale, alleging she defamed the NATS affiliate- tracking software firm by claiming its principals, John Albright and Charles Berrebbi, threatened her and others. Albright on Wednesday told XBIZ he couldn’t speak on the pending court matter.

The suit wasn’t the first filed against Hale over comments made on message boards. Montreal-based live-cam company 2Much Internet Services settled with Hale before that case went to trial earlier this year, 2Much owner Mark Prince told XBIZ.

In Hale’s motion for reconsideration, Pollock said Locascio used a narrow definition for journalist and media.

He said in the motion that other courts have used a broader view to extend the shield protection to an editor gathering unsolicited letters, to an insurance industry trade publication and to a reality television show's video footage that was never aired or published.

"The trial court's decision that Shellee and her confidential sources are not protected by the newsperson's privilege is palpably incorrect, irrational and irreconcilable with the evidence presented," Pollock wrote.

The motion, however, will go to another judge because Locascio retired.

Superior Court Judge Daniel Waldman is scheduled to hear the matter on Sept. 11.

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