(CN) – A Texas man cannot drag a New York resident into court over allegedly defamatory postings on the Yahoo! Finance message boards, a Texas appeals court ruled.
In 2006, David Pearl wrote on the board that Dale Abshire had lost his job at the Mutual of New York (MONY) office in Fort Worth, Texas, for sexual harassment.
Pearl said that he made the comments in response to Abshire’s claims on the message board that MONY and Pearl’s employer, AXA, were guilty of conspiracy and other illegal activity.
Pearl moved to dismiss Abshire’s claim, but the trial court denied the motion. On appeal, the 2nd District Court of Appeals reversed the decision.
The Fort Worth-based appellate judges ruled that Pearl did not deliberately choose to do business in Texas.
“Pearl’s Internet connections with Texas were in fortuitous response to the postings of a Texas resident, Abshire,” they wrote.
“By his own admission, Abshire purposefully posted messages in an attempt to prompt message board readers like Pearl to respond, and he acknowledged that his posts had, from time to time, provoked vitriolic responses.”