A Florida woman who sued over defamatory postings on an Internet bulletin board has won a jury verdict of $11.3 million, including $5 million in punitive damages, reports the Daily Business Review. The woman, Susan Scheff, sued after she and her company were accused of being "crooks," "con artists" and "frauds."
Scheff, who describes herself as an educational consultant, was hired by Carey Bock to help get Bock's two sons out of a school for troubled teens in Costa Rica. Scheff was successful, but Bock later posted the accusations on a bulletin board for parents of troubled teens.
USA Today reports that Scheff pursued the case even though she knew Bock would be unable to pay an award. Bock could not afford an attorney and did not appear at the trial. Scheff told USA Today that she wanted to make a point to those who unfairly criticize others on the Internet. "I'm sure [Bock] doesn't have $1 million, let alone $11 million, but the message is strong and clear. People are using the Internet to destroy people they don't like, and you can't do that."