TwoTen sues six over Facebook comments

SOUTH KINGSTOWN – TwoTen Oyster Bar and Grill has filed libel and slander suit against six people who posted to the restaurant’s Facebook page alleging the oysters served at the restaurant were stolen from  local shellfisherman David Roebuck and thus potentially linking former owner Peter Santilli’s recent arrest to the restaurant.

In January, Santilli and Ronald Miller were arrested on charges relating to an alleged oyster theft in October from the waters of Salt Pond. The oyster farm in question belonged to David Roebuck, owner of the Shuckin’ Truck and a frequent supplier of oysters to local businesses, including TwoTen.

The incident was widely discussed in town, and several people discussed it on TwoTen’s Facebook page. Six of those people were served a lawsuit in mid-March.

“I was aghast,” said 70-year-old John Harvey, one of the six, by phone Wednesday evening. “I had no idea what they were talking about at first. I thought I was responding to a friend of mine on Facebook, and, apparently, it was on TwoTen Oyster Bar’s Facebook page.”

Harvey’s comment, “are they still serving oysters stolen from David Roebuck?”, landed as a review on the restaurant’s Facebook page, which TwoTen did not have the authority to edit.

“The operator of a Facebook page does not have the capability of deleting reviews,” reads the complaint filed by TwoTen.

Of the six people sued, only South Kingstown resident John Harvey has decided to take the case to court. Each other defendant decided to sign a consent order that forces deletion of the reviews and demands no further related comments on TwoTen Oyster Bar’s page.

“I first thought I was tricked by the posting on Facebook; then I got to be a little bit angry,” said Harvey when asked what made him decide to take the issue to court. “I felt like I was being bullied. Granted, what I said was intended to illicit a response from my friend (she had grown up in Snug Harbor and knew the Roebucks), but I thought about it for awhile.”

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