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Portland Woman Sues Gawker for Defamation

A 2007 Gawker post speculated she was dating her boss at tech company Yahoo.

A Portland woman is suing Gawker Media and its founder Nick Denton for $74,000, saying the website defamed her and invaded her privacy with a 2007 tech gossip item.

Teresa Thomas filed the lawsuit in Multnomah County Circuit Court on Thursday against Gawker, Denton and executive editor John Cook. She says the implications in Gawker's blog post caused her to suffer personally and professionally, because the author speculated she was dating her boss at tech company Yahoo.

The new lawsuit comes a week after a Florida jury ruled Gawker must pay former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan $140 million for posting a sex tape of him in 2012.

Thomas' lawsuit opens by describing Gawker as "a limited liability company engaged in the the business of creating, distributing and publishing nationally and internationally false and libelous comments concerning the private lives of people."

Thomas, a longtime Portland resident, travels between Portland and New York City, where she's currently living. She filed the lawsuit in Multnomah County because her lawyer lives here.

In 2007, Thomas was employed at Yahoo, in the human resources department. Her lawsuit says after she left Yahoo to pursue other job opportunities, she struck up a relationship with Steve Moore, then-head of Yahoo's internal "Media Group."

The Gawker post suggested that Thomas left Yahoo because she started dating Moore—connecting her departure to Moore's conflicts with company rivals.

The post, written by Nicholas Carlson, was titled, "He pushes them out, she does the paperwork."

It concludes:

"In any event, Thomas never reported to Moore. A shame. Imagine the efficiency of such an arrangement. Moore could let his employees know when they've become useless to him, and then Thomas could push them out ever so delicately. Really, couldn't Yahoo use more synergies like this?"

The lawsuit alleges that the implication alone was enough to cause damage to Thomas' personal and professional reputation.

"Each of those false statements damages [Thomas'] reputation by stating that plaintiff did not conduct herself professionally and ethically and exercised poor judgment in her senior position," the suit says.

Gawker, Denton, and Cook have not responded to WW's requests for comment. Thomas' attorney, John Berman, declined comment except to say that Thomas unsuccessfully asked Gawker several times to take down the post.