Trosch v. Layshock, No. _____ (Pa. C.P., Mercer County filed April 2007).
Status: Claims against three defendants withdrawn; claims against one defendant remain

A high school principal sued four former students over three fake profiles posted on that portrayed him as obsessed with sex, that he had sex with students, that he drank at work, and that he smoked marijuana.

One of the students, Justin Layshock, had already filed a federal lawsuit after he was suspended and placed in an alternative education program as punishment for creating one of the profiles. In that case, in July 2007 a federal judge found the suspension unconstitutional and ordered a jury trial on damages (Layshock v. Hermitage School District, Civil No. 06-00116 (W.D. Pa. summary judgment granted July 10, 2007)).

In December 2007, Judge Christopher J. St. John denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss the state case, but held that the statements were not made with actual malice and that the principal could not recover punitive damages. In November 2008, the principal dropped the claims against three of the defendants, leaving only the claims against Layshock.

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