BY: DAVID S. GINGRAS, ESQ. As most of you know by now, on July 11, 2013 a jury of eight women and two men awarded $338,000 in damages to former Cincinnati Bengals Cheerleader Sarah Jones based on two posts submitted to in October and December 2009. These posts contained three statements that Sarah claimed were false. The exact contents of the posts have been discussed elsewhere, so there’s no need to repeat them again here. In the end, the jury agreed with Sarah, found the posts were false, and they held Nik Richie accountable for the statements, even though Nik did not write the posts – a third party did. This case has received a huge amount of publicity and has generated a lot of public commentary for a variety of reasons. Sarah’s status as a former NFL-cheerleader and her arrest during the case resulted in even more attention and interest. These weird facts made the case somewhat spicy and interesting, but from our perspective they are meaningless. Sarah’s background is NOT why the outcome of this case is so important. The reason this case is so important is because it is the first time since 1996 that a website owner has been held responsible for content posted on the site by an unrelated third party. Why is that so controversial? Because it never should have happened. In 1996 Congress passed a law that says website owners, in general, cannot be sued for publishing usersubmitted content. A lot of people may not understand what that means, so here’s a brief explanation of the issue. After the verdict, I told the media that the jury’s decision was based on an “incorrect” legal instruction given to them by the judge. OK great, but what exactly does that mean? Let’s take a look at the specific instruction I was referring to – this was Jury Instruction #3 which was part of a larger packet of instructions that the judge gave to the jury. These instructions were supposed to explain the law and how it should be applied to the facts of the case.

Notice what Jury Instruction #3 makes very clear—the jurors were told that Defendants (meaning Nik and Dirty World) “republished” the statements that Sarah claimed were false. The instruction further explains that when Nik “republished” these posts, he had the same legal duties and responsibilities as the original author. In sum, this instruction basically told the jury that they had no choice – they were required to treat Nik as a “publisher” and hold him to the same standard as if he was the author of content that Sarah was upset about. So, what’s wrong with that? Again, the answer is extremely simple—in 1996 Congress passed a federal law called the “Communications Decency Act” or “CDA”. This law has lots of different sections, but there is one specific section that deals with the issue of website owner/operator liability for content submitted by users (which we call “third party content”). This particular part of the CDA is only 26 words long, so I will quote it here in full:

Communications Decency Act; 47 U.S.C. § 230(c)(1): (1) Treatment of publisher or speaker No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.
This language is a little dry, and I know most people reading this are not lawyers. So, to help make this a little clearer, here’s a lightly paraphrased version of the law:

47 U.S.C. § 230(c)(1) [paraphrased]: No [website owner or user] shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by [a third party].
Starting to see the problem now? Dirty World, LLC is the owner of which qualifies as an “interactive computer service”. Courts have unanimously agreed that any website that allows users to post comments is an “interactive computer service”. Next, the only claim that Sarah sued Nik for was defamation. Defamation claims require that the defendant (Nik) “publish” a statement about the plaintiff which is false. Without publication by the defendant, there is no defamation claim. Finally, it was undisputed at trial that Sarah was not suing Nik for Nik’s own words; she was suing Nik because of content posted on the site by a user; i.e., a third party. Sarah’s claims therefore required the jury to treat Nik as the “publisher” of that content, exactly as Jury Instruction #3 said they should do, and exactly as the CDA said they cannot do.

So, how did this happen? The answer there is again very simple – our judge, William O. Bertelsman, agreed with Sarah’s view that the CDA should not apply here. That decision was based on the judge’s belief that Nik somehow “encouraged” the posts about Sarah. However, nothing in the CDA says that a defendant will lose protection based on mere “encouragement” of third party content. That exact issue has been discussed in dozens of different court cases across the country, and no judge anywhere has ever agreed with the rule applied by Judge Bertelsman. On the contrary, every judge to consider that question has held that “encouraging” users to submit content will not overcome the CDA’s “strong” protection. In addition, there was not a single shred of evidence at trial showing that Nik did anything (other than simply creating the website in the first place) to “encourage” the author of the posts about Sarah to submit her to his site. Nik did not know Sarah and he played no role in the author’s decision to submit the posts about Sarah. He also played no role in creating the contents of those posts. Every word that Sarah claimed was false came solely from the author, not from Nik. That’s precisely the situation in which the CDA applies to protect the website owner/operator. So, what does all this mean? Well, there is really no question that if our view of the law is correct, then Jury Instruction #3 was completely wrong, and if the instruction was wrong, then so was the verdict and judgment. This is why we will be appealing the case to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and if our view is correct, the only possible outcome of the appeal would be a complete reversal of the judgment. In short, if we are right, Nik will be completely vindicated and Sarah’s judgment will tossed out. Having said all this, here are a few additional points you need to know: • Nik Richie and Dirty World have previously fought and WON this exact issue in a different federal case in Missouri involving virtually identical facts. That case was called S.C. v. Dirty World, LLC, 2012 WL 3335284 (W.D.Mo. 2012). What’s particularly important about the Missouri case is that it was decided in March 2012 – that was after Judge Bertelsman ruled against Nik on the CDA issue in the Sarah Jones case in January 2012. The judge in the Missouri case reviewed Judge Bertelsman’s decision and basically said it was legally wrong. This is important because both cases were decided by federal judges on the same level. A lot of people have talked about the First Amendment, and then said something like: “Yeah, well the First Amendment does not protect defamatory statements.” This is technically incorrect – the First Amendment DOES protect the publication of defamatory statements in some cases (most commonly where the defendant did not know the statement was false). Of course, in this case the jury said that Nik either knew the statements were false or that he acted with “reckless disregard” for the truth since he did not fact-check them. We do not agree with this aspect of the decision, but for purposes of appeal, it is a non-issue – we’re not going to even discuss the First Amendment during the appeal. As long as the CDA applies, Nik will still win regardless of whether the statements are true or false and regardless of whether he knew they were false. None of that is relevant to the CDA.

Some people have heard about the CDA, but they don’t really understand how it works. These folks often take the position that even if Nik was originally covered by the CDA, that protection should be taken away because Sarah contacted Nik and told him the posts were false. In other words, she “put Nik on notice" that the posts were false, so the CDA shouldn’t apply, right? That argument might sound appealing at first, but it’s absolutely 100% wrong – every court that has ever considered the issue has agreed that when the CDA applies, its protection is absolute. When the CDA applies, the website owner cannot lose protection merely because someone provides “notice” that something on the site is false. That might bother some people, but consider this – even mainstream sites like Google will NOT remove content just because you notify them and claim that something is false. Don’t believe this? Check out Google’s statement about this here:

Since Google does not fact-check content created by third parties and does not remove content upon demand, why should Nik be held to a different standard? • Is Sarah going to actually get $338,000 from Nik? No chance. For one thing, a lot of people do not understand the way this works, but when a person “wins” a judgment in a case like this, the defendant doesn’t just hand over a check. Furthermore, if Nik refuses to pay Sarah, it’s not like the police will come and arrest him. That’s just not how private civil judgments work. How is Nik taking all this? Pretty well, actually. Losing any case is hard, especially when you haven’t done anything wrong, but Nik understands that we lost this case for one simple reason—because the judge refused to correctly apply the CDA. To be honest, after the case was over, Nik and I both felt a HUGE sense of relief. In fact, it’s no exaggeration to say we were actually happy with the result.

Consider this – if the jury ruled in our favor, the case would have ended and Sarah would not have any grounds for an appeal. Yes, in a way this would have been good for us since it ended the case in Nik’s favor. However, it also would have left Judge Bertelsman’s bad CDA decision in place. So, if we had prevailed at trial, the CDA issue would have been left unresolved after 3 ½ years of costly litigation. Fortunately, we lost. This means we now get to move on to a different forum (the appellate court). We will have new judges looking at the case from a fresh perspective, and this means we will get to re-raise and re-argue the CDA, and this time, we won’t be arguing alone. We have already received several inquiries from lawyers offering to file briefs in our support. This support is extremely important because if Judge Bertelsman’s ruling on the CDA was allowed to stand, it would open the door for a flood of lawsuits against every website that allows user-generated content. We are confident, however, that his ruling will be reversed in its entirety, thus protecting website owners from claims over user-submitted content. • Is going to shut down? NO. Nik plans to continue running the site exactly as before. After all, the Kentucky court’s decision on the CDA was simply wrong and other courts have agree Nik’s actions are protected, so until the higher courts have a chance to fix this mistake, there’s no reason for Nik to change his site. Does Nik have any specific comments he wants to share? Yes and no. Nik feels exactly like anyone would in this situation – he’s upset about what happened, but that does not mean he feels responsible for someone else’s words. Does Mark Zuckerberg feel badly when a teenager commits suicide after being bullied on Facebook? Sure he does, but that doesn’t mean he’s legally responsible for their death. Again, keep in mind – although lots of people have said that “Nik defamed Sarah”, this simply isn’t what happened. Rather, someone who knew Sarah used Nik’s website to post comments that Sarah claims were false, and because the court incorrectly took the CDA defense away, the jury believed incorrectly that Nik could be blamed. Finally, keep in mind — Nik has fought and won this exact issue in other cases, so he’s not really worried about the ultimate outcome of this case. In fact, Nik isn’t alone in that view – if you read the news reports about this case, it seems that lots of other independent legal voices have said they believe our position was correct. Moreover, I have not seen a single legal commentator say they think Sarah’s position was right. Think that’s just a coincidence? On the other hand, lawsuits are always stressful, and Nik does not enjoy the idea of having to deal with this case for the next year or two. Unfortunately, that comes with the territory, and because Sarah has made it clear that she wants to shut down Nik’s site, we really don’t have any choice but to keep fighting this battle until the courts decide which view of the law is correct.


No. 11-CV-00392-DW

Pending before the Court is the Defendant Dirty World, LLC ("Dirty World") and Nik Richie’s ("Richie") (collectively, the "Defendants") Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment (the "Motion"). See Doc. 45. The Defendants filed suggestions in support of the Motion (Doc. 46), the Plaintiff filed suggestions in opposition (Doc. 52), and the Defendants filed a reply brief (Doc. 55). After reviewing the record and the parties’ arguments, the Court finds that the Plaintiff’s claims are barred by the Communications Decency Act (the "CDA"). Consequently, and as set forth below, the Motion is GRANTED. I. A. Unless otherwise noted, the following facts are undisputed. Defendant Dirty World operates (the "Website"), which was founded by Defendant Richie. Richie is also the Website’s editor-in-chief. Visitors to the Website may submit posts on any topic, and the posts vary in type and subject matter. Some posts are about the news, sports, and politics. Other posts offer gossip and commentary about both public and private individuals. The Website does not require that a post be about any particular topic or individual. Instead,

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users are simply instructed to describe "what’s happening. Remember to tell us Who, What, When, Where, Why." The submission process asks the user to enter a title for their submission, along with the applicable "City," "College," and "Category." The Category field has more than forty options, including "I HAVE NO IDEA," "Business," "News," "Spring Break," and "Would You?" The "Would You?" category is more of an inquiry for Richie to state whether he would be romantically interested in the person submitted. Richie responds negatively to nearly all of these inquiries, allegedly "to express his view as to the absurdity and fallacy of today’s perfection-seeking culture." Though Richie does not fact-check each submission, he generally reviews them so that he can eliminate posts that he deems to be "inappropriate" or "unduly offensive." B. On January 24, 2011, a third party submitted the following post under the title "Nasty Church Girl:" Nik, I was living in Miami Beach for 4 months for work, and this nasty bitch [referring to the Plaintiff] who was my ‘friend’ started fcking [sic] my boyfriend in my bed and bringing her nasty ass horse teeth around my son trying to play house. This slut claims to be a sweet little church girl. She even works for the church! Fugly slut! Is this girl worth having sex with??? I wouldn’t think so! LEE’S SUMMIT SLUT!! Amended Complaint ("Compl.") at ¶ 17 (hereinafter the "Church Girl Post"). The author of the post also submitted a photo of the Plaintiff. Richie published the post on the Website, and opined immediately below it that "Her gumlines [sic] as big as her teeth, that’s amazing.-nik." Id. at ¶ 18; Doc. 46-1, p. 29.


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Richie did not author, modify, or alter any portion of the Church Girl Post or its title.1 Instead, he published the post as submitted to the Website.2 Richie does not personally know and has not knowingly spoken to the author of the Church Girl Post. Richie also does not know the Plaintiff and had never heard of her prior to the Church Girl Post. C. The Plaintiff filed this lawsuit on April 14, 2011. The remaining claims in her First Amended Complaint (Doc. 28) are for defamation through libel (Count I), public disclosure of private facts (Count II), false light invasion of privacy (Count III), and intentional infliction of emotional distress (Count IV). The Complaint alleges in part that the Church Girl Post, suggesting that Plaintiff "was unchaste, a ‘slut,’ and was ‘fcking’ [sic] the poster’s boyfriend in her bed" is false and places the Plaintiff in a false light. Compl. at ¶¶ 40-41. The Plaintiff alleges that the post was especially harmful to her "as an active member and employee of the United Methodist denomination church." For each count, the Plaintiff requests $900,000 in compensatory damages, as well as punitive and other damages. The pending Motion argues that the Defendants are entitled to CDA immunity because they did not create or develop the Church Girl Post. See 47 U.S.C. § 230(c)(1). The Plaintiff argues in part that the CDA does not apply because "the site’s owner and operator . . . encourages the offensive
The Plaintiff does not dispute that a third-party authored the Church Girl Post, but argues that Richie "collaborated" with the author and "encouraged" and "ratified" the post. See Plt.’s Statement of Facts, Doc. 52, p. 4, at ¶¶ 1-3. The evidentiary support offered by the Plaintiff does not support this proposition. For example, the Plaintiff cites a portion of Richie’s deposition testimony where he states that he decides which posts to publish. Id. at ¶ 3. This does not establish that Richie "created" or "ratified" the post under the CDA. As explained below, CDA immunity applies to the "exercise of a publisher’s traditional editorial functions–such as deciding whether to publish . . . ." Zeran v. American Online, Inc., 129 F.3d 327, 330 (4th Cir. 1997) (emphasis supplied). Richie did, however, add an introduction which read "The Dirty Army" to show that the post was submitted by a third-party user. "The Dirty Army" is apparently a phrase that refers to fans of the W ebsite. Richie’s introduction does not alter the CDA analysis below.
2 1


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and defamatory material . . . ." The parties’ arguments are addressed below. II. The summary judgment standard is well-settled. Summary judgment should be granted "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Wilkie v. Department of Health & Human Servs., 638 F.3d 944, 949 (8th Cir. 2011) (citations and quotations omitted). If the moving party meets its initial burden, the nonmoving party cannot rest on the allegations in its pleadings. Conseco Life Ins. Co. v. Williams, 620 F.3d 902, 910 (8th Cir. 2010). Instead, the nonmoving party must "come forward with specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Id. "A genuine issue of material fact exists if a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the party opposing the motion." Humphries v. Pulaski Cnty. Special Sch. Dist., 580 F.3d 688, 692 (8th Cir. 2009). III. Under the CDA, "[n]o provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider." 47 U.S.C. § 230(c)(1). This section "immunizes website operators from liability for content provided ‘by another information content provider.’" Global Royalties, Ltd. v. Xcentric Ventures, LLC, 544 F. Supp. 2d 929, 932 (D. Ariz. 2008). Consequently, websites are treated differently than "newspapers, magazines or television and radio stations, all of which may be held liable for publishing obscene or defamatory material written or prepared by others." M.A. v. Village Voice Media Holdings, LLC, 809 F. Supp. 2d 1041, 1047 (E.D. Mo. 2011) (citations and quotations omitted). 4

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Courts in this circuit and elsewhere have described CDA immunity as "broad" and "robust." Johnson v. Arden, 614 F.3d 785, 791 (8th Cir. 2010) (citations and quotations omitted); PatentWizard, Inc. v. Kinko’s, Inc., 163 F. Supp. 2d 1069, 1072 (D.S.D. 2001). As explained by one court, "Congress granted most Internet services immunity from liability for publishing false or defamatory material so long as the information was provided by another party." Global Royalties, Ltd., 544 F. Supp. 2d at 933 (citations and quotations omitted) (emphasis supplied). That said, a website will lose immunity if it is also "an information content provider," which is defined as "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 other interactive computer service." 47 U.S.C. § 230(f)(3) (emphasis supplied). IV. In this case, it is undisputed that a third party authored and then submitted the Church Girl Post. The Defendants did not alter the post, and published it as submitted to the Website. Consequently, CDA immunity turns on whether the Defendants are "responsible, in whole or in part, for the creation or development of" the Church Girl Post. See 47 U.S.C. § 230(f)(3). The Plaintiff argues in part that Defendants are responsible because they "encourage development of what is offensive about the content through the tenor of the [W]ebsite and Richie’s own actions in commenting on posts and interaction with his readers." Doc. 52, p. 9. A. The Court first examines the meaning of "development" under the CDA. Though that term continues to evolve under case law, the Tenth Circuit recently stated that "[a] website helps to develop unlawful content, and thus falls within the exception to section 230, if it contributes 5

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materially to the alleged illegality of the conduct." F.T.C. v. Accusearch Inc., 570 F.3d 1187, 1200 (10th Cir. 2009) (quoting Fair Hous. Council v. Roommates.Com, LLC, 521 F.3d 1157, 1168 (9th Cir. 2008)). The Court finds that this meaning is in accordance with the existing case law, and adopts it for purposes of this Order.3 Therefore, for example, a website may help develop unlawful content if it requires or pays for the submission of illegal information. See Accusearch, 570 F.3d at 1200; Roommates.Com, 521 F.3d at 1172. A website may also materially contribute to the illegality of a post "such as by removing the word ‘not’ from a user’s message reading ‘[Name] did not steal the artwork’ in order to transform an innocent message into a libelous one . . . ." Roommates, 521 F.3d at 1169 (emphasis in original). B. Applying this meaning, the Court finds that the Defendants did not materially contribute to the development of the Church Girl Post. Most importantly, it is undisputed that the Church Girl Post was unilaterally drafted and submitted by a third-party. The Defendants have further established that (a) they did nothing to induce a post specifically directed at the Plaintiff; (b) Richie does not personally know and has never knowingly spoken to the author of the Church Girl Post; (c) Richie had never heard of the Plaintiff prior to commencement of this action; and (d) the Defendants did not add to or otherwise alter the substance of the post. In addition, the Website does not require the posting of actionable material, and it does not pay for such information. Shiamili v. Real Estate Grp. of New York, Inc., 952 N.E.2d 1011, 1018 (N.Y. 2011) ("[T]here is no allegation that the

The Plaintiff argues for an expansive definition of "development," which would eliminate CDA immunity if a website "encourages" the development of "offensive" content. As explained below, mere encouragement is not sufficient to strip CDA immunity. Moreover, a standard that focuses on "offensive" as opposed to "illegal" content is impermissibly vague and would lead to inconsistent results.



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defamatory comments were posted in response to any specific invitation for users to bash [plaintiff]."). To the contrary, users of the Website may submit posts on any topic. In sum, a third party unilaterally created and submitted the Church Girl Post without specific instructions or requests from the Defendants to do so. This is precisely the type of situation that warrants CDA immunity. Doe v. MySpace, Inc., 528 F.3d 413, 419 (5th Cir. 2008) ("[S]o long as a third party willingly provides the essential published content, the interactive service provider receives full immunity regardless of the specific editing or selection process.") (citations and quotations omitted); GW Equity LLC v. Xcentric Ventures, LLC, 2009 WL 62173, at * 19 (N.D. Tex. Jan. 9, 2009) (recommending that claims be dismissed in part because "the material was unequivocally provided by another party"); Shiamili, 952 N.E.2d at 1020 (finding claims barred because the plaintiff alleged "that defamatory statements were posted on defendants’ Web site, and some of them were re-posted by the defendants"). C. In light of the foregoing, the Plaintiff focuses more on the general structure and operation of the Website. She claims that because the Website does not publish all submissions, the Defendants develop the content by "hand select[ing] those juicy tidbits of trash that are titillating to the public . . . ." Doc. 52, p. 8. Case law, however, does not support this argument. The CDA protects the "exercise of a publisher’s traditional editorial functions–such as deciding whether to publish." Zeran, 129 F.3d at 330 (emphasis supplied). The Plaintiff also argues that Richie generally helps develop content "by his interaction with ‘the Dirty Army’ and in the creation and execution of categories like ‘Would You?’ where users submit content specifically to get Richie’s views and expect an answer from him." Doc. 52, p. 18. 7

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This argument fails because the CDA focuses on the specific post at issue. As explained by one court, "[t]he issue in the instant case is whether Defendants are responsible, in whole or in part, for the creation or development of the particular postings relating to [Plaintiff] that are the subject of this lawsuit." Whitney Info. Network, Inc. v. Xcentric Ventures, LLC, 2008 WL 450095, at * 12 (M.D. Fla. Feb. 15, 2008) (emphasis supplied); Village Voice Media Holdings, 809 F. Supp. 2d at 1051-1052 (focusing on the "specific content" at issue). Finally, the Plaintiff argues that the Website encourages and "exists solely for people to post ‘dirt’ about their neighbors without regard for truth." Doc. 52, p. 9. This argument fails both legally and factually. As a matter of law, and even if true, merely encouraging defamatory posts is not sufficient to defeat CDA immunity. See Best Western Int’l, Inc. v. Furber, 2008 WL 4182827, at * 10 (D. Ariz. Sept. 5, 2008) ("impliedly suggest[ing] that visitors should make statements defaming [plaintiff] . . . is insufficient"); Shiamili, 952 N.E.2d at 1018 (concluding that implicit encouragement does not make a website an information content provider). Factually, the Plaintiff has not presented any evidence that the Website is devoted to "dirt" about private citizens or is merely "a portal for defamatory material." Johnson, 614 F.3d at 792. To the contrary, the Defendant has shown that the Website contains posts on a number of topics, including sports, politics, and other world events. Defs.’ Statement of Uncontroverted Facts, at ¶ 12; Doc. 46-1, p. 9, 12, 14, 16, 18, 22. D. In her opposition, the Plaintiff argues that the Court should follow Jones v. Dirty World Entm’t Recordings, LLC, 2012 WL 70426 (E.D. Ky. Jan. 10, 2012), which found that Richie and the Dirty World were not entitled to CDA immunity. Jones concluded that "by reason of the very name of the site, the manner in which it is managed, and the personal comments of defendant Richie, 8

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the defendants have specifically encouraged development of what is offensive about the content of the site." Id. at * 5. Jones is factually distinguishable. The plaintiff in that case was a high school teacher. Among other posts about the plaintiff, one third party posted that her "ex" had "tested positive for [two sexually transmitted diseases] . . . so im sure [plaintiff] also has both." The third party also posted that the plaintiff’s ex "brags about doing [plaintiff] in the gym . . . football field . . . her class room at the school where she teaches . . . ." Id. at * 1. In response to this post, Richie stated "Why are all high school teachers freaks in the sack?" Richie made other comments about the plaintiff, including a comment to her that "[y]ou dug your own grave here . . . ." Id. at * 4. It was also undisputed that Richie refused to remove the posts despite the plaintiff’s requests. Here, the Plaintiff has not identified any posts by Richie that could be seen as ratifying the Church Girl Post or encouraging further development of it. For example, this case could have been different if, as in Jones, Richie had responded to the Church Girl Post with "Why are all church girls freaks in the sack?" Instead, Richie simply made an opinion about the Plaintiff’s appearance that did not relate to the alleged defamatory statements.4 Unlike Jones, Richie also removed the Church Girl Post. Again, this suggests that the Defendants neither adopted or encouraged further development of the post. Given these significant factual differences, Jones is not persuasive. This Court also distances itself from certain legal implications set forth in Jones. In particular, Jones appears to adopt a relatively narrow interpretation of CDA immunity. Id. at * 3, 5. This is in conflict with the "broad" interpretation recognized in this circuit. See Johnson, 614 F.3d at 791. Additionally, Jones found that "the name of the site in and of itself encourages the

Specifically, Richie’s comment about the size of Plaintiff’s gumline is a non-actionable statement of opinion regarding the Plaintiff’s physical appearance. It had nothing to do with whether the Plaintiff is unchaste.


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posting only of ‘dirt,’ that is material which is potentially defamatory . . . ." Jones, 2012 WL 70426, at * 4 (emphasis supplied). As explained above, however, the CDA focuses on the specific content at issue and not the name of a website. See Global Royalties, Ltd., 544 F. Supp. 2d at 933 (finding that although a website entitled "Ripoff Report" encourages defamatory content, this does not make the website operator liable for every post). As also explained above, the Website is not devoted entirely to "dirt." For all these reasons, the Court concludes that the Plaintiff’s claims are barred because the Defendants are entitled to CDA immunity. That said–and to avoid any confusion–the Court disagrees with the Defendants’ apparent belief that they are immune for any and all postings on their Website. Instead, the Court simply holds that the Defendants are entitled to immunity under the facts of this case. This holding does not necessarily mean that the Plaintiff is without recourse. Zeran, 129 F.3d at 330 ("None of this means, of course, that the original culpable party who posts defamatory messages would escape accountability."). V. Consequently, and for the foregoing reasons, it is hereby ORDERED that the Defendants’ Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 45) is GRANTED. The Clerk of Court is directed to terminate any pending motions, and to then mark this case as closed. IT IS SO ORDERED.


March 12, 2012

/s/ Dean Whipple Dean Whipple United States District Judge


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