Louisiana jury awards $2 million to woman defamed online
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A Louisiana jury took just 45 minutes to hand down a $2 million dollar verdict to a Baton Rouge woman who was defamed on a popular internet website by a man who left a negative review about her.
The large verdict is likely to be reduced during an appeal.
The jury found that Marina Mikhailova suffered personal humiliation, mental anguish, embarrassment, and other damages as a result of comments posted about her on the “Ripoff Report” website.
Mikhailova, an LSU graduate, is represented by prominent Baton Rouge attorney Jill Craft. In her lawsuit, Mikhailova said she ordered more than 4,500 articles of overstock apparel from Bullhorn Promotions, LLC, a company based in Minnesota.
However, she claims some of the products were defective, leading her to contact Bullhorn’s owner, Ryan Kampff, and request a refund.
“Although the parties disputed the condition of the merchandise, defendant Bullhorn, nonetheless, refunded one-half of the initial purchase price,” the lawsuit claims.
After Bullhorn issued the refund, Mikhailova says someone from Bullhorn posted a complaint on the Ripoff Report website claiming Mikailova and her company were “liars” who are engaged in “wholesale buyer scamming,” the lawsuit claims.
In the post on Ripoff Report, the owner of Bullhorn claimed the Mikhailova threatened to defame his company if he did not provide her with a full refund of nearly $9,000.
“I will be happy to provide complete documentation to any party who wishes to learn what they should expect when dealing with Ms. Marina Mikhailova,” the post said.
The lawsuit claims the comments were not only false and defamatory but also accused Mikhailova of criminal conduct. The jury reached its verdict on September 10 after a trial at the 19th Judicial District Court in Baton Rouge. Kampff’s Baton Rouge attorney says he will appeal.
“We respectfully disagree with the jury’s verdict and intend to file an appeal with the First Circuit,” attorney Greg Webb said in an emailed statement to WAFB-TV.
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