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Blogger waiting on appeal of $1.8 libel decision

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  1. Libel and Privacy
A Myrtle Beach, S.C. blogger lost a $1.8 million libel judgment in January, The Sun News reports, but a pending appeal and questions about possible…

A Myrtle Beach, S.C. blogger lost a $1.8 million libel judgment in January, The Sun News reports, but a pending appeal and questions about possible procedural glitches in the lawsuit mean the case is not over yet.

Advertising agency head Scott Brandon filed the suit against Wizeman in 2008, saying that two stories on Donald Wizeman’s blog, MyrtleBeachInsider, were false and that Wizeman was aware of that, according to Brandon’s complaint in the Court of Common Pleas in Horry County.

The Sun News said Circuit Judge Diane Goodstein ruled in Brandon’s favor last fall; in January, the court awarded the plaintiff $1.8 million in damages.

But court records show Wizeman appealed the ruling within weeks. According to the newspaper, he has said in court documents that he did not author the articles in question, which referred to Brandon as "a failed lawyer" whose "crappy [advertising] campaigns" make him "primarily responsible for the nine year decimation of the Myrtle Beach area golf industry."

Wizeman claims, The Sun News said, that he wasn’t able to attend the September hearing because he was never notified about it (other court records indicate a notice was "refused by the recipient," the paper said.) The blogger has also maintained he never received a request asking him to admit he wrote the articles. According to the paper, if a defendant fails to respond to that paperwork, "it is deemed that the party admits all that is alleged."

Byrd and Wizeman’s attorney, Kenneth Moss, were unavailable for comment.