Steven Musil
December 8, 2011

A U.S. District Court judge in Portland, Ore., ruled that a blogger who wrote about an investment firm that subsequently accused her of defamation must pay the company $2.5 million because she’s a blogger who doesn’t legally qualify as a journalist.

Crystal Cox, whose blogs are a mixture of fact, opinion, and commentary, wrote several posts that were critical of Obsidian Finance Group and its co-founder, Kevin Padrick. In one blog post, Cox accused Padrick of fraud while serving as trustee in a real estate bankruptcy case.

The firm considered the posts defamatory and filed a $10 million lawsuit (PDF) against Cox in January. The blog the court focused on during the case was more factual in tone, suggesting she had an inside source who was leaking her information. Obsidian demanded she reveal the source of her information to prove its veracity.

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