PEORIA, IL -- A Peoria blogger has been sued for more than $50,000 in damages for posts on a Facebook page, in a civil lawsuit filed in Peoria County Circuit Court by AMT, Advanced Medical Transport of Central Illinois.
Blogger Zack Teague, 31, said the Facebook page was set up for his blog page, under a former address, and he doesn’t know who posted the comments and cartoon-style pictures which AMT officials claim are defamatory. It’s not his personal Facebook page, he said.
He said he has tried to have the posts taken down but has not succeeded.
The lawsuit claims the posts are not just opinion, though if the case continues, that would be a legal issue to be resolved. The posts accuse AMT of being a profiteer with blood on its hands, among other issues.
AMT’s CEO, Andrew Rand, is also the chairman of the Peoria County Board. AMT is a not-for-profit organization owned by Peoria’s three major hospitals.
This lawsuit poses many questions, chief among them why AMT didn’t contact Teague and ask him to take down the posts. He said Rand never contacted him.
Teague said he has no money to hire a lawyer, and has been studying the law to defend himself. His 30 days to respond to the lawsuit expires on Nov. 22, Thanksgiving Day.
Another issue: why sue a guy without the money to hire a lawyer, for a Facebook post that few people likely will see? Is this meant to intimidate AMT’s critics? If so, it worked on me, as I am not putting a link to the page here.
Meanwhile, is it time to ditch Rand as board chairman, for throwing his weight behind such a ridiculous lawsuit?
Or is the AMT law firm manipulating AMT to get extra fees? If that’s the case, why not sue Facebook, where the deep pockets reside?
Then there are the facts. Does AMT really want to have to prove that it doesn’t make a profit, and that none of its patients have ever died?
This reminds me of the infamous Twittergate incident a few years ago, which cost Peoria $500,000 when Mayor Jim Ardis sent police to arrest a guy who mocked him on Twitter. The ACLU sued over free speech issues, and the city lost that case and its good reputation after it was ridiculed everywhere for what Ardis did. Stay tuned.
-- Elaine Hopkins
UPDATE 12/12/2017: Zack Teague has found an attorney, who filed a motion to dismiss. A hearing is set for March 9, 2018.