Twitter Settles Suit with Tony La Russa

The two parties settled out of court just a few days after the suit was filed

By on June 6th, 2009 11:14 GMT
Twitter has apparently settled out of court with Tony La Russa, the manager of the St. Louis Cardinals Major League Baseball team, after he filed a suit earlier this week, on account of trademark violation.

A Twitter user had made a fake account in La Russa's name and used it to post tweets that the latter found very offensive. The manager contacted the social networking site about removing the account but he claims the company never responded even after several weeks. This prompted him to file a suit accusing Twitter of trademark violation as the website had the user's name, in this case Tony La Russa, in its web address. He also claimed that the tweets caused him “significant emotional distress” as they made remarks about two Cardinals pitchers who had passed away.

The settlement was reached very quickly and apparently Twitter will only have to cover La Russa's legal fees and maybe make a donation to the Animal Rescue Foundation, the manager's charity and animal shelter. La Russa insisted that the suit was only about the trademark violation, despite earlier comments by his representatives. “The biggest misconception … was that it was about somebody using Twitter to be critical of me,” La Russa told the Post Dispatch. “I have plenty of critics. You can’t sue everybody who is criticizing you. That seemed like the perception that I or we were upset with the criticism. No, it was the improper use of the name.”

It's good to know that the suit was settled so shortly though the grounds for it were vague at best. Twitter's terms of service specify that parody accounts are allowed and, furthermore, US law doesn't hold websites accountable for the content their users provide. However, Twitter decided to take the cheaper alternative and maybe win some positive publicity after donating to the animal charity.

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