Phil Cannella Lawsuit: Crusades for our Constitutional Rights Part 2 – Phil Cannella Lawsuit

Phil Cannella Lawsuit

Phil Cannella Lawsuit – Phillip Cannella LawsuitPhil Cannella Lawsuit, as Phil Cannella Lawsuit explains, the Unites States fortunately has a much better justice system than some of these countries who don’t respect freedom of religion, freedom of belief and other basic freedoms man is entitled to regardless of race, color or creed. In the United States, the freedom of speech has sensible restrictions and the Supreme Court has recognized this.

Phil Cannella Lawsuit • Phillip Cannella Lawsuit

“Does the First Amendment mean anyone can say anything at any time? No. The Supreme Court has rejected an interpretation of speech without limits. Because the First Amendment has such strong language, we begin with the presumption that speech is protected. Over the years, the courts have decided that a few other public interests — for example, national security, justice or personal safety — override freedom of speech”.

There are in fact 9 essential categories of speech that are generally considered not protected by the First Amendment:

“Which types of speech are not protected by the First Amendment? Although different scholars view unprotected speech in different ways, there are basically nine categories:

  • Obscenity
  • Fighting words
  • Defamation (includes libel, slander)
  • Child pornography
  • Perjury
  • Blackmail
  • Incitement to imminent lawless action
  • True threats
  • Solicitations to commit crimes

In Phil Cannella’s lawsuit, the fight he had to wage was to protect his own rights against defamation, speech that was published online that was written to destroy his reputation and was based on lies. Our justice system cannot let people get away with slandering others where the utterances are not based on truth. If we all did that, we would bring our society down to a level on par with some of the most debased societies in history.

In fact, the U.S. Constitution doesn’t provide for freedom of speech that is based on lies.

“The U.S. Constitution doesn’t protect your right to freedom of speech if you tell lies about someone. Slander occurs when you say untrue things to others. Libel, by comparison, occurs when you make untrue statements in print or by broadcast. Slander and libel are not protected by the First Amendment. The person you lied about can sue you in state civil court.”

What some unscrupulous individuals do to avoid being sued is publish their views anonymously. The advent of the Internet gave room for people to remain hidden behind fictitious screen names in order to avoid their identity being discovered. It makes it very difficult for anyone to sue someone if their true identity wasn’t known.

Phil Cannella faced exactly that situation: An online anonymous defamation campaign with the stated objective of taking him out of business. The only way he could respond to it was filing a lawsuit with the hopes of identifying the instigators through the process of discovery and then seeking to get court approval to remove the defamatory content from the Internet.

The lawsuit was very delicate for judges have to differentiate between protecting a person’s First Amendment rights and coming down on those who seek to destroy by weaving a morass of lies. In order to conduct the case the defendant, though anonymous had to be given the chance to defend their statements as factual. Fortunately the law provides for this and when the defendant couldn’t be served in person due to their unknown identity, the court permitted an alternative form of service.

After adequate time elapsed and no one stepped forth in response to the subpoena, the judge handed default judgment in Phil Cannella’s favor and issued a permanent injunction against the defamatory website.

In taking the legal stand that he did and expending the sums necessary to seek redress of this moral wrong, Phil Cannella stood firm to protect his rights. We cannot let our society drop into a cesspool of hate where anyone can say anything they like regardless of the truth out of malice and hate. We have to protect the First Amendment from such abuse. This is what Phil Cannella has done for all and has benefitted many by standing for these rights.

Fortunately we do not live in a debased society that on one end of the spectrum permits people to say willy-nilly what they like without respect to the truth of their statements even when they are calculated to destroy; nor do we live in a society at the other end of the spectrum that executes anyone for not toeing the party line.

Our society is built on a foundation of justice. We appreciate that we have our freedom of speech and we appreciate that the justice system also respects the rights of people not to be defamed through lies and hate. This is what Phil Cannella stood for in his fight to protect his rights.


About Phil Cannella

Head Analyst with First Senior Financial Group