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Deer Consumer Products v. Little

Deer Consumer Products v. Little

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Published by Eric Goldman

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Published by: Eric Goldman on Sep 21, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/19/2013

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IFILED:NEWYORKCOUNTYCLERK09/01/20111
INDEXNO.650823/2011NYSCEFDOC.NO.29RECEIVEDNYSCEF:09/01/2011
SUPREMECOURTOFTHESTATEOFNEWYORK-NEWYORKCOUNTY
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PRESENT:PART
35
INDEXNO.MOTIONDATE
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OTIONSEQ.NO.MOTIONCAL.NO.
Thefollowingpapers,numbered1to__werereadonthismotionto!for
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NoticeofMotion!OrdertoShowCause-Affidavits-Exhibits...AnsweringAffidavits-Exhibits_ReplyingAffidavits_
PAPERSNUMBERED
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Noross-Motion:
Upontheforegoingpapers,itisorderedthatthismotion
Basedontheforegoing,itisherebyORDEREDthatthemotionbydefendantSeekingAlphaLtd.todismisstheComplaintpursuanttoCPLR3211(a)(1)and(7),basedondocumentaryevidenceandfailuretostateacauseofaction,isgranted.ORDEREDthattheapplicationforleavetoamendthecomplaintisdenied.ThisconstitutesthedecisionandorderoftheCourt.
Dated:
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SUPREMECOURTOFTHESTATEOFNEWYORKCOUNTYOFNEWYORK:PART35
----------------------------------------------------------------------)(
DEERCONSUMERPRODUCTS,INC.,IndexNo.
65082312011
Plaintiff,-against-ALFREDLITTLE,JOHNDOE#1-10andSEEKINGALPHA,LTD.,Defendants.
----------------------------------------------------------------------)(
HON.CAROLR.EDMEAD,lS.C.MEMORANDUMDECISIONInthisactionfordefamation,defendantSeekingAlphaLtd.("SAL")movestodismisstheComplaintpursuanttoCPLR3211(a)(1)and(7),basedondocumentaryevidenceandfailuretostateacauseofaction.
FactualBackground
Plaintiff,amanufacturerandsellerofsmallhomeappliances,suesdefendantsAlfredLittle("Little')andSALfordefamation,allegingthatLittleauthoredseveraldefamatoryreportsaspartofanoverallschemetodrivedownthepriceofplaintiffscommonstockinordertoprofitonshortsales.ThereportswerepublishedonSAL'swebsite,seekingalpha.com.'
In
supportofdismissal,SALarguesthatitcannotbeheldliablefordefamation.TheCommunicationsDecencyAct("CDA")§509(47U.C.S.§230)("Section230")immunizesaninteractivecomputerserviceprovider,suchasSAL,fromtortliabilityforthirdpartycontentpublishedonitswebsite,whetherornottheintemetservicehaskepteditorialcontrol,has
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Forexample,theComplaintallegesthatonMarch9,2011,SALfirstpublishedafalseanddefamatoryreportentitled"DeerConsumerProducts:'DeerintheHeadlights',"draftedbyLittle(the"March9thReport"),whichfalselystatedthatplaintiffs"managementmisappropriated$11millionincompanyfundsthroughaquestionablelandpurchase."(Complaint
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3-14).
 
2selected,revised,removed,repostedoralteredtheallegedlydefamatorycontentofthirdparties,orhasperformedsomeother"traditionaleditorialfunctions"ofapublisher.PlaintiffsallegationsconcedethatSALdidnotauthorthereportsatissue.PlaintiffdoesnotallegethatSALwaspartofLittle'sallegedscheme.Rather,plaintiffallegesthatSAL"published""falseanddefamatory"reportsonSAL'swebsite.SALcontendsthataccordingtotheaffidavitofitsChiefOperatingOfficerAvromGilbert("Gilbert'sAffidavit"),SAL'swebsiteisafreeonlinesourcethatpublishesthirdpartycommentary,reports,articles,andanalysisaboutU.S.financialmarkets,andfunctionsasanopendiscussionforumorvirtualbulletinboardforanythirdpartyuserandcontributor.Itscontentisprimarilywrittenbythird-partycontributors.Third-partycontributorscanposttheircontentdirectlyonthewebsiteasablog,asareader'scommenttoanexistingpost,orascommentarytobeselectedforpublicationasanarticle.Third-partypoststhatSALselectstopublishasarticlesmaybeeditedbySALforclarityandconsistency,anddonotchangeorinterferewiththesubstanceoftheauthor'sargumentorviewpoint.SAL'seditorialprocessconsistsofnomorethanselectingthearticlesforpublication,editingforclarityandconsistency,andorganizingandtaggingthemsothattheycouldbeeasilyfound.Ofthefiveallegedreportsatissue,twowerearticlesselectedandeditedinaccordancewithSAL'seditorialprinciples,whicharepostedonitswebpage.Oneofthearticlesandpartoftheotherwereremovedfromthewebsiteafterplaintiffdisputedthecontent,eventhoughplaintiffoptednottoparticipateinthewebsite'sarticledisputeprocess.ThethirdreportwasablogpostnotselectedoreditedbySALandnolongerexistsonthesite.Theremainingtwoalleged"reports"inissuewerenotpublishedonSAL'swebsite;theywereaccessiblethroughthe

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