Duer v. Henderson, No. ____ (Ohio C.P., Miami County default verdict April 13, 2009).
Status: $129,794 default verdict for plaintiff

Melissa Duer, owner of the historic Staley Mill northeast of Dayton, Ohio, sued over statements in the book "Weird Ohio" and the Forgotten Ohio website (http://www.forgottenoh.com/) that the mill was haunted. In her suit, Duer said that the claims had put her and her family in a false light and intentionally caused them emotional distress. Duer also claimed that the statements led to people trespassing on the property, requiring her to get a guard dog and hire private security. The court dismissed the claims over the book, which Duer said she would appeal. But the owner of the website, Andrew Henderson, did not appear and a default judgment was entered. In addition to the award, which included expenses Duer alleged for security, alleged diminished value of the property, and attorney fees and litigation costs, the court also ordered Henderson to remove references to the mill from his site, and barred him from posting such references on any other website.

On Dec. 23, an appellate court in Ohio found that the trial court correctly found that no genuine issue of material fact existed as to Duer's claim for trespass to land.  2009 WL 4985475.

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