Gorilla Coffee Shop in Brooklyn Sues NY Times in Lather Over Blog Post

Tuesday, 26 Oct 2010 01:16 PM

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The Catholic Church isn’t the only entity targeting The New York Times these days. New York Archbishop Anthony Dolan castigated The Gray Lady Saturday, saying its reportage often reflects blatant anti-Catholic bias. Now comes the Gorilla Coffee shop, with a libel suit that accuses the Times and a dining blogger of guerrilla tactics and blatantly erroneous coverage of a labor dispute at the Brooklyn beanery, as chronicled in the NYTPicker blog.

Gorilla Coffee, New York Times, suitThe suit percolated into court because of a Times Diner’s Journal blog post in April alleging that Gorilla owners mistreated their baristas, saying that’s why they all decided not to show up at the same old grind one day. The suit, which names the New York Times Co., blogger Oliver Strand, and several former Gorilla employees, alleges that the Times posted the blog "with actual knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard as to its truth or falsity or with negligence."

Gorilla owners Darleen Scherer and Carol McLaughlin claim that, because of the post, they "suffered shame, emotional distress and embarrassment and were exposed to contempt and ridicule," NYTPicker reports, as well as financial losses, according to the suit. The post not only repeated the employees’ complaints about the working conditions but also demanded that McLaughlin be given the boot as co-owner.

Ironically, only a month before the offensive article was posted, Strand had praised Gorilla Coffee as one of the best shops in Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Although the disputed post let the owners tell their side, plaintiffs decided to sue because they contend it included an explosive, and erroneous, e-mail from the employees.

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