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Dyer v. Dirty World Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment

Dyer v. Dirty World Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment

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Published by Eric Goldman

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Published by: Eric Goldman on May 18, 2011
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02/10/2013

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MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
C
ASE
 N
O
.: 2:11-CV-00074-SRB
 
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To provide some brief historical context for the Court,www.DirtyScottsdale.com was initially created to provide a forum for Mr. Richie to express humorous satiricalcommentary and criticism based on his perception of moral and social decay inScottsdale’s nightlife and club scene. When the site first began, Mr. Richie authored and posted his own comments which were often focused on lampooning “fake” (a/k/a “dirty”) people living in Scottsdale colloquially referred to as “$30k millionaires”. This is aderogatory term used to refer to young people (usually males in their early 20s) who livefar beyond their financial means—driving expensive cars they cannot afford and living alavish lifestyle often funded by maxed-out credit cards. In addition to his criticism of thislifestyle, Mr. Richie also published commentary and criticism of a wide variety of topicsincluding, but not limited to: “beer-bong-chugging athletes, puking co-eds, drunkendrivers and provocatively posing clubbers … .”Mr. Richie’s brutally honest sense of humor struck a nerve with his viewers andthe site became incredibly popular literally overnight. Within a short period of time,www.DirtyScottsdale.comexpanded nationwide, eventually growing to cover more than50 different U.S. cities and more than 20 cities in Canada. In the process, the site adopteda more geographically neutral name— www.TheDirty.com —and Mr. Richie (who initiallykept his true identity a secret) gained significant fame if not infamy. In January 2009 theArizona Republic newspaper named Mr. Richie one of the top ten most fascinating peopleof 2008, noting, “what makes him interesting is that his site has prompted a dialogueabout public and private space and about what is and is not celebrity.”http://www.azcentral.com/ent/calendar/articles/2009/01/09/20090109toparizonans-richie.html
 
(visited April 13, 2011).As the site has grown, its focus and format has changed. Among other things, Mr.Richie no longer creates every post that appears on the site. DSOF ¶ 4. Rather, users arenow permitted to “submit dirt” which can include news, photos, video or text, and userscan post their own comments about material submitted by others. DSOF 5. Thesubmission form provided by the site is 100% content neutral; it does not ask users to post
 
 
MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
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anything about any particular individual, nor does the site suggest what the author shouldsay. The only instructions given by the site are as follows:
Tell us what’s happening. Remember to tell us Who, What, When, Where, Why.
DSOF 6.As part of the submission process, users are asked to enter a “title” for their submission, along with basic information about the material they are submitting.Specifically, users are asked to identify the “City”, “College”, and “Category” for their submission. DSOF ¶ 7. In terms of categories, the user is required to pick from a list of more than 40 different options provided by the site which include: “I HAVE NO IDEA”,“Business”, “News”, “Spring Break” and “Would You?” DSOF ¶ 8.This last category—“Would You?”—is generally understood to apply to requestsfor Mr. Richie to express an opinion as to whether he would be romantically interested inthe person submitted;
e.g.
, “Would you date this person?” DSOF 9. As part of hisintentionally hyperbolic satirical process, Mr. Richie responds “NO” to nearly every suchsubmission, regardless of whether the individual submitted is an attractive celebrity,supermodel, actress, athlete, etc., or simply the girl next door. DSOF ¶ 10.Once a user submits a post to the site, in most cases Mr. Richie will briefly reviewit and remove certain types of information which may be unduly offensive (i.e., threats of violence, profanity, racial slurs, etc.), but he not does fact-check user submissions for accuracy. DSOF ¶ 11. In addition and as a general rule, Mr. Richie will normally redactsome portion of any first/last names appearing in user-submitted posts (
e.g.
, the name“David Gingras” might be redacted to read: “David ***gras”). DSOF ¶ 12. This is doneto provide some measure of privacy to the individual depicted. DSOF ¶ 13.This case arises from a single post onwww.TheDirty.comabout the Plaintiff which was submitted to the site on August 10, 2010. DSOF ¶ 14. According to her Complaint, Ms. Dyer alleges the post was submitted by her ex-boyfriend, non-partyTOMMY DUECKER (“Mr. Duecker”). DSOF 15. In short, Mr. Duecker’s post(quoted
verbatim
in ¶ 9 of the Complaint) alleges that Ms. Dyer gave him “the clap”(gonorrhea) while she was “sleeping around” with Mr. Ducker and another individual at

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