Techcrunch’s Michael Arrington ‘loses’ lawsuit for the right reason

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government.jpgADOTAS — Every time I finally think he is a complete blowhard, Michael Arrington does something that I can’t help but admire.

He apparently got into a serious feud with an unsavory character, Sam Sethi, who was a former TechCrunch UK editor. Sethi lied about sponsorship revenue possibilities, wrote some unethical posts and eventually quit. Sethi later started his own site, ran into problems with employees and escalated his feud with Arrington. He also might have lied about early investor interest and got to a point where he was threatening to kill people. All of which came out into the open on Techcrunch as well as other sites. So Sethi decided to sue Techcrunch for libel.

Sethi decided to file in the U.K. where libel lawsuits are much easier to win, because they generally force the defendants to make their case. Arrington’s U.K. lawywers said it could cost more than $700,000 to defend so Techcrunch didn’t contest it. Result? Sethi just won by default, about $43,000 for lawyer costs, and is now asking for about $70,000 in damages. Arrington said they won’t pay and has to cancel a visit to England in the remote, albeit very real, possibility that he would be arrested.

According to Arrington:” My response – the same thing I told him in February – write a post apologizing to the employees he lied to and cheated, and take the blame like a real adult. My advice was that the Internet tends to forgive everything over time, particularly to those who ask for it. But Sethi continues to choose his own path, and insist he did nothing wrong. It’s just a very sad situation. Someday I hope he finds peace with himself and all the people he has hurt.”

Sethi’s reputation is in tatters regardless of his default win, and Arrington puts his reputation and money behind a freedom of speech issue and gets the kudos. Which lately, he no doubt needs.

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