Internet Law

Judge tosses defamation suit against boss-rating website

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A New Jersey judge has dismissed a defamation case filed against, filed by a CEO who ended up on the website’s annual list of “America’s Worst Bosses” in 2010.

Judge Edward Gannon tossed the suit May 21 in a ruling from the bench, lawyers for the litigants told the New Jersey Law Journal (sub. req.). The plaintiffs were Petro-Lubricant Testing Laboratories Inc. and its CEO, John Wintermute, who ended up on the bad bosses list in 2010 after he was accused of creating a hostile work environment in a lawsuit that year.

Employees can rate their bosses on eBossWatch, and the reviews can be accessed by job seekers who want information on potential supervisors. The website also publishes news stories about job-related lawsuits.

EBossWatch published an August 2010 story about the lawsuit against Wintermute and his alleged bad behavior that was based on a report by Courthouse News Service. After the case settled, a lawyer for Wintermute and Petro-Lubricant asked eBossWatch to remove the article. EBossWatch founder Asher Adelman refused, though he changed the headline and made other changes to the article. The changes did not include information about the settlement, according to Petro-Lubricant Testing.

In dismissing the suit, Gannon said the article was a matter of public concern and a fair report of the lawsuit allegations, a lawyer for the plaintiffs told the New Jersey Law Journal.

Updated on June 2 to state that Adelman made other changes to the article.

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