Kent v. Hennelly

December 5, 2018

The Reporters Committee and 33 media organizations filed an amicus brief in Kent v. Hennelly, a case before the Sixth Circuit. The plaintiff filed a lawsuit in a federal court in Tennessee against a South Carolina-based defendant, alleging that the defendant's online comments made on Facebook were defamatory. The district court dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction.  The amicus brief argues that the Sixth Circuit should affirm the district court and hold that courts cannot assert personal jurisdiction over defamation defendants solely because public comments they made over the internet are available in the forum state. The mere availability of comments online does is not enough to provide jurisdiction, and could subject journalists and news organizations who publish content online to jurisdiction in every state.