Letter: Judge made false assumptions in TripAdvisor/Seaton case

Sep. 07, 2013 @ 11:43 PM


I wish to comment on the false assumptions about readers that Judge Karen Nelson Moore delivered on behalf of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Kenneth Seaton brought against TripAdvisor, using the articles written by Jamie Satterfield (Knoxille News Sentinel, Aug. 29) and Jeff Farrell (The Mountain Press, Aug. 29) as my sources.

“Here (using corrrect grammar but flawed logic), no reader of TripAdvisor’s list would understand Grand Resort to be, objectively, the dirtiest hotel in all the Americas...,” explained Satterfield, basing this statement on the judge’s words: “even the most careless reader must have perceived that ‘dirtiest’ is simply an exaggeration. .... Thus, it is clear to us (the 6th), as it would be to any reader...’

Any reader, huh? Literal? I find that statement to be ridiculous. It sounds like Justice Scalia extempore.

Judge Moore stands guilty of using the very same hyperbolic language about readers as she claims TripAdvisor used to describe Seaton’s Grand Resort Hotel. That is, “no reader” is an inherently subjective concept; her usage is not based on a scientific study, rather it’s only her subjective opinion, which is a false and flawed assumption about those of us who read the words other people write.

I would call upon an expert witness such as Gore Vidal, one of America’s men of letters; that is, only an excellent writer can convey meaning to an excellent reader. And it’s not “reasonable” to assume that the average Joe is an excellent reader or writer.

Finally it takes an excellent reader not “any reader” as the judge claims, to be clear about amost anything one writes about, exaggeration, hyperbole or scientific fact. That’s a fact.

In this case, as I see it, the judge soiled a correct “protected opinion” decision with Scalia-like tripe about readers.


B.J. Paschal

Pigeon Forge