The interesting aspect of this case for me is not the actual frivolous defamation suit itself but the background information coming to light because of it.
In May, Missouri newspaper the Alton Telegraph was ordered to provide authorities with the names of two people who commented online about an ongoing murder investigation. (In that case, the judge rejected the Shield law defense, saying it did not extend to sources used by online bloggers.)
This type of anonymous comment is protected when made through the traditional media of the newspaper but not if released via the internet. This needs to be addressed with the way that the online blog and news media is taking over the role of older formats.
In the past many important news stories have broken only because the source was protected and so the law needs to be extended to include current methods of publication.
As for the actual defamatory statement, if this sort of un-substantiated
comment was made here it would be removed, so I believe the publisher does have a duty to monitor what is said and to only allow those things that can be proved by the source,
If things are clearly stated as a rumor then that may be acceptable, dependent on the actual content.
Just MHO of course