Home > News > U.S. Appeals Court: ModelMayhem.com May Be Liable • Bookmark   • Newsletters   • Register Search Options


U.S. Appeals Court: ModelMayhem.com May Be Liable

U.S. Appeals Court: ModelMayhem.com May Be Liable
Get XBIZ News
Sep 17, 2014 6:00 PM PDT    Text size: 

SAN FRANCISCO — Operators of ModelMayhem.com may be liable after two site users lured a woman to a bogus casting call where they drugged and raped her, according to a ruling today at the 9thU.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

In reviving the case of a model known as a Jane Doe, the court tossed a lower court ruling that previously dismissed the civil action after finding it barred under Section 230(c)1 of the Communications Decency Act. The CDA limits the liability of an online publisher for user-created material.

Doe, who sued ModelMayhem.com for negligent failure to warn, claimed the company knew but failed to warn users that two men, Lavont Flanders and Emerson Callum, would use the  website to lure victims to the Miami area for bogus modeling auditions. The men, she said, then drugged, raped and filmed her.

Earlier this year, the 11th U.S. Circuit of Appeals ruled to uphold the convictions of Flanders and  Callum, who were given consecutive life sentences in prison for their activities.

The 9th Circuit today found the CDA section inapplicable because Doe does not seek to hold ModelMayhem.com liable as the publisher "of content someone posted on the Model Mayhem website, or for [their] failure to remove content posted on the website."

The suit asked the court to hold parent company Internet Brands liable for failing to warn her about how the men used the website to lure rape victims.

"The duty to warn allegedly imposed by California law would not require Internet Brands to remove any user content or otherwise affect how it publishes such content," the appeals court wrote. "Any obligation to work could have been satisfied without changes to the content posted by the website's users."

The 9th Circuit remanded the case to the lower court consistent with today's opinion.

Internet Brands acquired the site from its original developers, Donald and Taylor Waitts, in 2008. According to the court brief, when the company learned of Flanders and Callum's scheme, it sued the Waitts for not disclosing the activities.

More ways to get XBIZ News:  RSS Feeds  |  E-Newsletters  |  Desktop Widget  |  Mobile
Looking for porn star news and behind-the-scene videos? Check out XFANZ.com !


Visa Cracks Down on ‘Shell’ Billing Firms

There was a time not so long ago when website operators created billing companies in favorable jurisdictions, whose sole purpose was to bill customers for services provided by the operator and remit the... More »

Randazza: Trump Victory, Big Prop 60 Win

On Tuesday afternoon, I boarded a transatlantic flight. Given all of the negativity in the 2016 presidential race, I was delighted that I would be absent for the results. I found both Donald Trump and... More »

Dissecting an $11.9M Affiliate Marketing Judgment

The Federal Trade Commission scored another major win in early October when the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling, requiring LeadClick Media LLC to pay an $11.9 million award. The... More »
Stay informed of the latest industry developments. Get XBIZ newsletters delivered to your inbox. Subscribe today!
Enter email address:

* To manage existing subscriptions click here.

Submit your press release to
multiple news outlets with 1 click.
Subscribe to RSS news feeds or
add free content to your website.
Access XBIZ news and articles
with your mobile device.
Access the latest issues of the industry's leading trade publications in digital form. View online or download for offline viewing.


Everything To Do With Sex Show

Jan 27 - Jan 29
Halifax, Nova Scotia

The European Summit

Mar 04 - Mar 07
Barcelona-Sitges, Spain

The TEA Show

Mar 05 - Mar 06
Hollywood, CA

Phoenix Forum 2017

Mar 23 - Mar 26
Tempe, Arizona
Everyday thousands of business professionals browse XBIZ's industry directory for quality products and services. Not listed yet? Your company could be losing potential new business. Submit your company today!
Use XBIZ RSS feeds to stay informed of the latest industry developments or as a content syndication tool for your website!