A federal judge in Portland, Ore., has ruled that a Montana blogger was not a journalist when she posted online that an Oregon lawyer acted criminally while a trustee in a real estate bankruptcy case.
Media observers said Wednesday the ruling points out how state shield laws and other laws protecting journalists have lagged behind developments in online media.
U.S. District Judge Marco Hernandez ruled last week that Crystal Cox of Eureka, Mont., cannot claim the protections afforded to mainstream reporters and news outlets. He also found that Bend attorney Kevin Padrick was not a public figure, and the bankruptcy case was not in the public interest.
The ruling opened the way for a jury to award $2.5 million to Padrick and Obsidian Finance Group LLC from Cox for defamation.