Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lawyer Loses Defamation Suit Against Website

By Staci Zaretsky

A lesson that Matt Couloute Jr. is learning.

It’s a sad fact, but almost everyone has had the opportunity to partake in a bad romance or two. And although it may sound elegant when Lady Gaga sings about it, in real life, it can be devastating. That’s why websites like LiarsCheatersRUs were created — so that jilted lovers could have a place to unleash their angst about failed relationships caused by a lover’s supposed infidelity.

But what happens when you’re a lawyer and a scorned ex-girlfriend lets loose on the internet about your infidelities? That is apparently what happened in the case of Matthew Couloute Jr., a former prosecutor and Court TV analyst, after he allegedly cheated on Amanda Ryncarz.

Now he’s suing Ryncarz and another ex-flame, roller-derby diva Stacey Blitsch, both represented by [ ] lawyer to the wannabe stars, Gloria Allred. Thus far, we’ve kept our coverage of the drama to Morning Docket entries (here, here, and here), but now, Matt Couloute has spoken out about the situation on television.

For those of you who haven’t been following this story as it makes its rounds on New York’s finest tabloids, here is the LiarsCheatersRUs entry that Couloute is suing over (click here)

Ouch, way to hit him where it hurts — his wallet. Couloute’s ex, Amanda Ryncarz, was outed as the “anonymous” writer of this review, and now she’s airing her grievances even more publicly. In a press conference organized by Gloria Allred last September, Ryncarz announced that she posted on the website “because [she] wanted to warn other women in order to protect them from what [she] suffered.”

Stacey Blitsch, on the other hand, completely denies posting LiarsCheatersRUs, but many suspect that this response to Ryncarz’s original entry was penned by her hand (click here)

Well, if she did write that, then this Blitsch has got balls. Hell totally hath no fury like a woman scorned.

Couloute just wants a clean Google search. You can’t fault the man for that, but you’ve got to wonder if this attorney is getting what he deserves. Recall from 1L year that truth is a defense to defamation. If you don’t remember, then Gloria Allred is here to help you out:

“I think the minimum the women should be allowed to do is to speak out and speak the truth about the men who they have had relationships [with] and about the men who have hurt them. We believe lawsuits like this should not be allowed. This is free speech. Women must have a voice and be able to speak to each other on matters of common interest without fear of being dragged into court.”

You hear that, ladies? You can say whatever you damn well want to say on the internet, and if you happen to get sued over it, then Girl Power Gloria will have your back.

Couloute’s lawsuit will be heard in court early this year, and when we get more details, we’ll be sure to pass them along to our readers. For now, if you’re thinking of cheating on your significant other, just remember that the internet is kind of like that Rockwell song — somebody is always watching you. But don’t even think about suing them for their online rants, because they’ve probably got Gloria Allred on speed dial.


Couloute loses his Defamation Suit:

Couloute was called a cheating “scum” who, according to Amanda Ryncarz, dumped her over the phone five days before marrying another woman. Blitsch has a son with Couloute.

Baer ruled that the statements were opinion and “clearly hyperbolic.” Couloutee identified the following statements on the site as defamatory and injurious to his status as an attorney:

Ryncarz statements:
1. “[Mr. Couloute] lied and cheated all through his 40 years of life.”

2. “[Mr. Couloute] [u]ses people/his son/women to get what he wants then dumps you when he’s done with them. Has no long term friends. He rents or finances everything and owns absolutely nothing.”

3. “He is very very manipulating. he’s an attorney so he’s great at lying and covering it up without batting an eye.”1 .

Blitsch statements:

1. “[W]hat these ladies have said about his character is very true. I met him and dated briefly and I was taken in with the charm and instant “connection” he claimed we had . . . [A]s soon as I started asking questions about other aspects of his life and figured out he wasn’t comple[tely] honest he turned cold then disappeared. And of course another male is going to say Matt is a “solid dude” . . . if you agree with lieing [sic] and manipulating any female you come in contact with I guess he could be considered that. . . .”

2. “I came across this site by accident by following a UFL news feed, so your friend Matt has more problems than these posts if in search for the league his name is associated with this site.”

Couloute insisted that these comments included factual misrepresentations. Notably, one of the comment came with the following observation:
“This is the absolute truth about this man!! He will stop communication with you suddenly, then reach out years later as he did with me trying to sweet talk you and make you feel like you’re the most special woman in the world that he’s been looking for. He is very very manipulating. he’s an attorney so he’s great at lying and covering it up without batting an eye. Our relationship didn’t last long as I figured him out pretty quickly but for others, BE FOREWARNED, HE’S SCUM! RUN FAR A WAY!”

Couloute originally alleged only tortious interference with prospective business relations — perhaps in recognition of the opinion defense. However, he later amended to add the defamation claim.

Nevertheless, Baer (the judge) found that these comments, except one, were clearly opinion found on a site filled with one-sided accounts:
With the possible exception of the statement that Plaintiff “rents or finances everything and owns absolutely nothing”—a statement clearly capable of being proven true or false—the comments, even if viewed in isolation, are opinion. Defendants state that Plaintiff “lied and cheated all through his 40 years of life”, and that, because Plaintiff is an attorney, “he’s great at lying and covering it up without batting an eye.” Comments such as these are clearly hyperbolic. And when viewed within the larger context of the website on which they were posted, there can be no doubt that a reasonable reader would understand the comments to be opinion. As Defendants note, liarscheatersrus.com is “specifically intended to provide a forum for people to air their grievances about dishonest romantic partners.” Id. at 9. The average reader would know that the comments are “emotionally charged rhetoric” and the “opinions of disappointed lovers.” Id. Of course the Internet makes it more likely that a greater number of people will read comments such as these, and thereby amplify the impact they may have on a person, but this does not change the underlying nature of the comments themselves.

Couloutte plans to appeal.

There is a site with Couloutte’s name that contains the following odd statement from “him or her”:
Put Matt Couloute into the Google Search engine and you will not find Matthew Couloute’s background regarding his / her time as a news reporter on Court TV. You won’t learn Matt Couloute once represented a football league. An individual won’t learn this individual ended up being the assistant district attorney throughout Connecticut record.

Not at all, you will end up forwarded to liarscheatersrus.org, a site wherever ladies admit regarding extramarital affairs of the these people out dated or perhaps married.

Well Matt Couloute has decided to deal with the problem. In his or her case he recorded a lawsuit towards Amanda Ryncarz, his former sweetheart, that admits putting up on the spot relating to a few year romantic relationship. . . .
Matt Couloute has additionally within the go well with his / her child’s mom whom furthermore published on the website. She declines it but states the lady nevertheless believes Couloute is often lies. spouse.
It is not clear who has created this site, but it is one of the first sites that comes up when you try to find any site from Couloute. Here is his site. He includes a specialty in dealing with “cyberbullying.”

The case is Couloute v. Ryncarz, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20534.

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