When lawsuits go viral

Photo courtesy of troll.me
Photo courtesy of troll.me

By Jodi Cantor | The New York Times

Intimate, often painful allegations in lawsuits — intended for the scrutiny of judges and juries — are increasingly drawing in mass online audiences far from the courthouses where they are filed.

When a former saleswoman at Zillow sued the real estate Website in December, describing X-rated messages from male colleagues, her court filing drew hundreds of thousands of readers, causing an instant public relations crisis for the company.

The papers in a sexual harassment suit filed last summer against Tinder, the dating app, circulated in a popular Buzzfeed post. And a lawyer for a fired University of Minnesota-Duluth women’s hockey coach who is planning a lawsuit knows what the initial complaint will need: a clear narrative and damning details.

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