An article published in the September 11, 2018 Legal Intelligencer reported on an opinion issued by Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Arnold L. New that could affect venue rules in cases where communications claimed to be defamatory are posted on the Internet. In Fox v. Smith, Judge New took the extraordinary step of requesting that the Superior Court reevaluate the principles applied to venue rules in defamation cases “in relationship to the internet, social media, and the technology of the modern era” because he disagreed with existing case law that predates the internet. “In the 51 years since Gaetano [v. Sharon Herald] was decided, technology drastically changed the way in which we communicate, yet the venue rules related to defamation have remained stagnant,” New wrote. If the Superior Court agrees with Judge New and reconsiders the existing case law, it could affect how all communications posted online are viewed for purposes of venue of cases.
Rawle & Henderson Partner Daniel J. Rucket represents Defendant Stacey Smith in this case.