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Hill v. StubHub

Hill v. StubHub

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Published by Eric Goldman

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Published by: Eric Goldman on Mar 16, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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03/16/2011

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NORTH CAROLINA IN THE GENERAL COURT OF STICESUPERIOR COURT DIVISIONGUILFORD COUNTY 07 CVS 11310JEFFREY A. and LISA S. HILL,individually and on behalf of allothers similarly situated,Plaintiffs,v.STUBHUB, INC. d/b/a “StubHub!”and/or “stubhub.com”, JUSTINHOLOHAN, and “John Doe Sellers 2,et al.”Defendants.))))))))))))))
ORDER AND OPINION
{1} This matter, filed as a class action, is before the Court on cross-motions for summary judgment filed by Plaintiffs and Defendant StubHub,Inc. (“StubHub”). At issue is Defendant StubHub’s claim to immunity underSection 230 of the Communications Decency Act (the “CDA”)
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. For thereasons set forth below, the Court finds that StubHub is not entitled toimmunity under the CDA and is, therefore, subject to Plaintiffs’ claims forunfair and deceptive trade practices. Summary Judgment as to Plaintiffs’claims under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 75-1.1 is GRANTED.
Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard, LLP by 
Jeffrey E.Oleynik, Charles E. Coble, and Benjamin R. Norman; Law Offices of Jeffrey K. Peraldo, P.A. by Jeffrey K. Peraldo and Kara W. Edmonds 
for Plaintiffs 
Jeffrey A. and Lisa S. Hill.K&L Gates, LLP 
by John H. Culver III; 
Cooley Godward Kronish LLP by 
Michael J. Klisch, Joshua M. Siegel, Michael G. Rhodes, Benjamin Chapman, Whitty Somvichian, and Craig Guthery for Defendant StubHub, Inc.
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47 U.S.C. § 230.
 
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Tennille, Judge.I.THE PARTIES{2} Plaintiffs, Jeffrey A. and Lisa S. Hill (“the Hills”), are citizensand residents of Guilford County who purchased four tickets to the MileyCyrus as Hannah Montana concert at the Greensboro Coliseum throughStubHub’s online service. The Hills paid more than face value for theirtickets and paid a service fee in excess of $3.00. Their transaction, if conducted in front of the Greensboro Coliseum, would have violated NorthCarolina’s anti-scalping statute.{3} Defendant StubHub is a California corporation which operates a“ticket marketplace” on the internet. Stub Hub claims immunity from anyresponsibility for the sale to the Hills based on Section 230 of the CDA.{4} Defendant Jason Holohan (“Holohan”) is a citizen and residentof Massachusetts who owned the tickets purchased by the Hills throughStubHub.II.APPLICABLE STATUTES{5} The statutes applicable to this case are 47 U.S.C. § 230, N.C.Gen. Stat. § 14-344, and N.C. Gen. Stat. § 75-1.1. The pertinent language of Section 230 states:(c) Protection for “Good Samaritan” blocking and screening of offensive material.(1) Treatment of publisher or speaker. No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisheror speaker of any information provided by another informationcontent provider.(2) Civil liability. No provider or user of an interactivecomputer service shall be held liable on account of--(A) any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrictaccess to or availability of material that the provider or user2
 
considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessivelyviolent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or notsuch material is constitutionally protected; or(B) any action taken to enable or make available toinformation content providers or others the technical means torestrict access to material described in paragraph (1)[subparagraph (A)]. . . .(f) Definitions. As used in this section:(1) Internet. The term "Internet" means the internationalcomputer network of both Federal and non-Federalinteroperable packet switched data networks.(2) Interactive computer service. The term "interactivecomputer service" means any information service, system, oraccess software provider that provides or enables computeraccess by multiple users to a computer server, includingspecifically a service or system that provides access to theInternet and such systems operated or services offered bylibraries or educational institutions.(3) Information content provider. The term "informationcontent provider" means any person or entity that is responsible,in whole or in part, for the creation or development of information provided through the Internet or any otherinteractive computer service.(4) Access software provider. The term "access softwareprovider" means a provider of software (including client orserver software), or enabling tools that do any one or more of thefollowing:(A) filter, screen, allow, or disallow content;(B) pick, choose, analyze, or digest content; or(C) transmit, receive, display, forward, cache, search, subset,organize, reorganize, or translate content.47 U.S.C. § 230(c),(f) (Lexis 2011).{6} In 2007, when Mrs. Hill purchased tickets for the Miley Cyrusas Hannah Montana concert on StubHub’s website, N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-344read:Any person, firm, or corporation shall be allowed to add areasonable service fee to the face value of the tickets sold, andthe person, firm, or corporation which sells or resells suchtickets shall not be permitted to recoup funds greater than thecombined face value of the ticket, tax, and the authorized service3

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