Following lobbying from Craigslist, eBay, Facebook, Tumblr, and other Internet companies, a federal appeals court Wednesday set aside its ruling allowing a woman to sue Model Mayhem for failing to warn her that known rapists were using the website to find victims.
The San Francisco-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals (CDA) ruled last fall that the Communications Decency Act did not immunize the website from being sued by the aspiring model, who says she was raped, drugged, and filmed by two rapists who the woman says were known to the website’s management, Internet Brands. The CDA precludes websites from being held legally liable as a “publisher or speaker” of content, but that didn’t apply in this case, the court had ruled.
The woman identified in court papers as Jane Doe No. 14 “does not seek to hold Internet Brands liable as a ‘publisher or speaker’ of content someone posted on the Model Mayhem website, or for Internet Brands’ failure to remove content posted on the website,” a three-judge panel of the appeals court had ruled (PDF). Instead, Jane Doe No. 14 was suing under a California duty-to-warn law, the court said.
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