(To the victor go the spoils. / Photoshop via MRuss)
Cage Potato is pleased to announce that a troubling legal matter has been settled in our favor. After being named as a defendant in a June 2009 defamation lawsuit filed by MMA trainer Juanito Ibarra, we’ve finally been removed from the frivolous suit, and Cage Potato’s parent company has been awarded $61,075 in attorney fees and associated costs.
The lawsuit stemmed from a September 2008 PunchDrunkGamer.com interview with Tito Ortiz, in which Ortiz claimed that Ibarra had overcharged Quinton Jackson for his training camps, which led to Jackson severing professional ties with Ibarra. Like many other sites, Cage Potato quoted the interview in a blog post, and gave our own thoughts on the matter. Nine months later, Ibarra responded by filing suit against CagePotato.com — as well as Ortiz, Jackson, and over 20 web sites and writers — claiming that we damaged his reputation by publishing false information.
Fortunately, Ibarra wasn’t able to prove his claims in court. In September, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Zaven Sinanian granted a motion by our lawyers to dismiss CagePotato.com from the lawsuit. Our lawyers then filed a counter-suit to recoup attorney fees and other court costs, which was successful. On October 27th, a Los Angeles judge awarded Cage Potato’s parent company a judgment of $61,075.
Ortiz and Jackson are the only remaining defendants in Ibarra’s lawsuit; all of the other media outlets named in the suit have reportedly either settled with Ibarra or have been removed as defendants.
Because Ibarra never offered proof that Ortiz’s statements were false, and because CagePotato.com didn’t re-publish Ortiz’s quotes out of malice towards Ibarra, we always felt that the lawsuit was meritless and motivated by profit — a shakedown, essentially. We applaud the Los Angeles County court system for defending our right to report the news.