Andrew Rubin, Esq.

Spike Lee's Twitter gaffe results in undisclosed settlement

It seems that just about the entire United States, New Jersey included, is following the Trayvon Martin case as it unfolds. Many in Newark may have heard that Spike Lee reached a dispute resolution settlement today with an elderly couple after the director spread a Twitter posting listing their address as that of the man who shot the unarmed teen late last month.

The Twitter-related case was settled almost as soon as it began. On Wednesday, Lee re-Tweeted an address to hundreds of thousands of followers, thinking that the address was that of George Zimmerman--the man who shot the teen, spurring an investigation that has generated national outcry. The address, though, was actually that of an elderly couple who happened to have a son whose name was similar to George Zimmerman's, but there exists no relation. The couple had to vacate their home, fearing for their safety after the Tweet.

Lee issued an apology on Twitter and also called the couple personally, according to a news report. And only two days after the initial mis-Tweet, in an undisclosed legal settlement, Lee compensated the couple for their troubles.

Resolving such a civil dispute through the court system would have of course taken much more time and money than doing so out of court. The Spike Lee Twitter gaffe, though unusual in nature, is an example of how effective arbitration, mediation and dispute resolution can be as opposed to litigation.

These matters do not work in every case, but often handling a civil dispute out of court can lead to a swift and satisfactory resolution for both parties. Such dispute resolution tactics are often especially effective in resolving business matters.

Source: Washington Post, "Spike Lee apologizes, atones for screwup," Erik Wemple, March 30, 2012

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