A US-based Kenyan lawyer has filed a defamation suit in against a Kenyan blogger for failing to pull down an offending article published on his blog last year.
In a suit filed at the Montgomery County Circuit Court in Maryland, lawyer Regina Njogu claims that the owner of the blog by the name Kenyapoa published a “malicious story which has caused me emotional distress”.
In the papers filed at the court registry, the attorney, who runs RNW law firm as a partner, accuses the blogger of writing an article which erroneously portrayed her as having been indefinitely blocked from practicing law in the US for alleged misconduct.
She further alleges that the blogger often publishes inflammatory and defamatory articles against Kenyans residing in the US.
Ms Njogu, who practices law in New York said she filed the libel suit against the unnamed respondent after attempts to have the blogger pull down the article.
She said that privacy features on the website has made it impossible for her to know the real identity of the blogger.
Under Maryland law, if the court grants her plea, a subpoena will order the identity of the blogger to be revealed.
Njogu said that on or about March 28th, 2016, the respondent wrote and published an article on the blog titled: ‘Kenyan lawyer has been indefinitely suspended from the practice of law for engaging in professional misconduct’.
“The defendant has taken advantage of legal protections to make false, unsubstantiated, and defamatory statements against the plaintiff by operating anonymously and by protecting his or her information from discovery, argues Njogu.
“The offensive and defamatory statements made by defendant are not protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States," she adds.
She wants the court to grant a subpoena duces tecum (write ordering a person to present relevant documents in court) against the blogger.
She demands "punitive damages for actual malice and reckless disregard for the truth" in the amount of $100,000 and any other charges that the court may deem fit.
“Clearly the said article is malicious and was deliberately meant to tarnish my name and standing in the society,” she said.
She further pleads with the court to grant a subpoena to Automatic Inc, a corporation based in San Francisco, California, which is the web host, IP provider, and registrant of the blog. She also wants the court to compel Mark Monitor Inc., a San Francisco-domiciled company which serves as the domain provider of the respondent's blogging site, to provide the necessary information to the court.