Breaking Tweets Chicago

Horizon Realty issues press release regarding Twitter lawsuit

Chicago-based Horizon Realty has responded to widespread backlash facing the apartment company after a story about its lawsuit against a tweeting tenant put it in the national limelight today.

The press release (PDF) stated:

The response to our libel lawsuit has been tremendous, We would like to take this opportunity to clarify some confusion concerning the circumstances surrounding our lawsuit against Amanda Bonnen.
I would first like to take this opportunity to apologize for tongue in cheek comments that were made previously regarding our approach to litigation. This statement is not in line with our philosophy towards property management and was taken out of context.

It adds that "No mold was ever found but her unit was one of several that experienced an overnight leak," the tenant moved out on June 30, and "On June 24th, much to our surprise given her previous silence, Bonnen sued Horizon Realty Group."

In response, "conducting our due diligence," Jeff Michael of Horizon Realty Group says her tweet was identified and the company "acted to protect our reputation just as we would for any other related comment made in a public forum."

The local story, first reported yesterday by ChicagoNow's Marian Wang, vaulted to the front page of Digg this afternoon and Horizon Realty became a Trending Topic on Twitter early this evening.

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7 Comments

Shari Weiss said:

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Is this the first BTChicago post with no tweets included? Interesting...

Craig Kanalley said:

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Probably - yes... It was a matter of breaking news. No one had this up yet, so I threw it together. There weren't any tweets at the time and never went back on it, but I think it works... Chicago + Twitter.. and breaking too. Haha, not the norm for sure though.

Shari Weiss said:

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Definitely understand your reasoning--just surprising (and a little confusing) at the time!

Craig Kanalley said:

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Yeah, understandable.

SLAPP Hater said:

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So Ms. Bonnen filed a lawsuit and Horizon realty digs up "dirt" on her and files a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation, a/k/a SLAPP, to avenge her litigation and attempt to force her to settle on onerous terms on the lawsuit she filed.

Well, Horizon's attorney should have read the Citizen Participation act at 735 ILCS 110/1 et. seq. Ms. Bonnen expressed her opinion. Mr. Michael apparently admitted as much when he referred to her expression as a "comment." She has a right to express her opinion, and the legislature thought enough of her opinion that a law was enacted. Ms. Bonnen's attorney should consider filing a motion to dismiss and assess attorney's fees under the CPA, which requires Horizon to prove by CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE that Ms. Bonnen's statement was NOT Constitutionally-protected opinion.

If you read the tweet, this woman spoke sarcastically and in the language of an opinion. She was not telling a knowing lie.

This lawsuit (I have read it) appears to be precisely what the anti-SLAPP statute intended to punish.

Craig Kanalley said:

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Really interesting info. Thanks so much for sharing this.

Outraged Public said:

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Help stop companies like Horizon Realty from filing frivolous lawsuits and wasting taxpayer money. Please follow us on Twitter at OutragedPublic, and then visit http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/OutragedPubl... to sign a petition telling companies like Horizon that you find this behavior unacceptable. Our simple website is located at http://outragedpublic.weebly.com/. We will be posting updates on our petition progress there, and we have a forum where you can discuss your thoughts on this issue. Together we can make a statement. Thank you for your support.

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