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St. Louis Cardinals manager La Russa sues Twitter

Thursday, June 4, 2009 | 2:10 p.m. CDT

ST. LOUIS — St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa is suing the social-networking site Twitter, claiming an unauthorized page using his name damaged his reputation and caused emotional distress.

The suit filed last month in the Superior Court of California in San Francisco seeks unspecified damages.

Messages left Thursday with La Russa's attorney and San Francisco-based Twitter were not returned.

The lawsuit claims that someone created a false account under La Russa's name and posted updates, known as "tweets," that gave the false impression that the comments came from La Russa. The suit said the comments were "derogatory and demeaning" and damaged La Russa's trademark rights.

The account bearing La Russa's name is no longer active.

Some professional athletes and others connected to pro sports have embraced Twitter. Shaquille O'Neal posted a message on his Twitter site saying he was pulling for former teammate Kobe Bryant to win a fourth championship as the Lakers entered the NBA finals against Orlando.

"I am saying it today and today only," O'Neal tweeted. "I want kobe bryant to get number four, spread da word."

Buffalo Bills receiver Terrell Owens posted a message on his Twitter site Tuesday that his search for a home to rent hit a snag because residents "(don't) want any drama n their neighborhood!! LOL!!! Wow!!."

But La Russa's lawsuit said the page bearing his name was hurtful to the 64-year-old manager, who has led the Cardinals since 1996 and also managed the Chicago White Sox and Oakland A's during a 30-year managerial career.

The lawsuit includes a screen shot of tweets with the heading, "Hey there! Tony La Russa is using Twitter," with a picture of the manager. Among other things, the page includes distasteful references to two Cardinals pitchers who have died in recent years.

However, the same page includes an aside that reads, "Bio Parodies are fun for everyone."

 


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