Home > News > 9th Circuit Won't Rehear ModelMayhem 'Failure to Warn' Case • Bookmark   • Newsletters   • Register Search Options

NEWS STORY

9th Circuit Won't Rehear ModelMayhem 'Failure to Warn' Case

9th Circuit Won't Rehear ModelMayhem 'Failure to Warn' Case
Get XBIZ News
Aug 30, 2016 3:21 PM PDT    Text size: 

SAN FRANCISCO — The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today denied a renewed petition to rehear a key "failure to warn" case involving the ModelMayhem.com website.

The petition, made by defendant ModelMayhem and numerous Internet companies and organizations, asked the full 9th Circuit to review its earlier decision that held that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act does not immunize a networking website from a failure-to-warn claim.

In May, the 9th Circuit  for a second time held that Section 230 does not bar civil claims made by a woman who was raped after she was lured to a bogus casting call on ModelMayhem.com.

The decision in May was similar to a previous one made by a 9th Circuit panel in April that sided with the woman, known as Jane Doe No. 14, who was challenging a lower court ruling that tossed her case.

The previous ruling by the 9th Circuit was withdrawn in February and re-argued.

The case ended up at the 9th Circuit after a lower court dismissed her claims for monetary damages under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which limits the liability of a website's publisher for content posted by third parties. In this case, it was Doe’s posting of her contact information.

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

Flanders and Callum were tried, convicted and given consecutive life sentences in prison for their activities.

The 9th Circuit in its May decision tossing the lower court ruling and sending it back to the lower court said that the CDA wasn’t meant to create a “lawless no-man’s-land on the Internet.”
“[I]t may be true that imposing any tort liability on [ModelMayhem] for its role as an interactive computer service could be said to have a ‘chilling effect’ on the internet, if only because such liability would make operating an internet business marginally more expensive,” the 9th Circuit said in its May decision.

The 9th Circuit said that “Congress has not provided an all-purpose get-out-of-jail-free card for businesses that publish user content on the internet, though any claims might have a marginal chilling effect on internet publishing businesses.”

Jane Doe No. 14’s case has attracted the attention of numerous Internet companies and organizations that sided with ModelMayhem, which noted in court briefs that the 9th Circuit’s earlier ruling will open the door for lawsuits against or have a “detrimental chilling effect” on internet services providers.

Friend-of-the-court briefs were delivered to the appeals court by Floor64, Facebook, Craigslist, Tumblr, the Computer and Communications Industry Association, The Internet Association and Care.com — all concluding that websites should be granted broad immunity to online intermediaries for harms arising from third-party content.

In its denial today, the 9th Circuit said that the full court has been advised of the petition for rehearing en banc and no judge has requested a vote on whether to rehear the matter en banc.
“Further petitions for rehearing and rehearing en banc shall not be entertained,” the 9th Circuit said.

The 9th Circuit order today leaves likely the possibility for a U.S. Supreme Court challenge over the interpretation of Section 230.

Industry attorney Lawrence Walters of Walters Law Group, who is not a party to the case, told XBIZ that "Supreme Court review would be potentially helpful to clarify the scope of this newly identified duty-to-warn by online service providers who are otherwise protected by Section 230 immunity."

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 !

PROFILES & BIOS

WIA Profile: Kristi Greer

Each month, industry news media organization XBIZ spotlights the career accomplishments and outstanding contributions of Women in Adult. WIA profiles offer an intimate look at the professional lives of... More »

Q&A: Dorr’s Ivan Ho Discusses Launch of Luxury Toy Line

Dorr made its debut with a sophisticated selection of vibrators and an “advanced intimate toy care system” with a UV light for disinfection. Dorr is a manufacturer, design house, engineering... More »

Quantox: IT Company Has Familiar Faces

As the adult entertainment business continues to become increasingly specialized and companies focus more intensely on what they do best, a number of highly qualified consulting firms are supplying services... More »
XBIZ NEWSLETTERS
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.






POPULAR PRODUCTS & SERVICES
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.
Subscribe to XBIZ Premiere magazine, the industry's leading adult retail trade publications, delivering the most timely and comprehensive business news and information to producers and retailers of adult products.

UPCOMING EVENTS

eroFame

Oct 05 - Oct 07
Hannover, Germany

EXXXOTICA Edison

Nov 04 - Nov 06
Edison, New Jersey

2016 Inked Awards

Nov 05 - Nov 05
Edison, New Jersey

XBIZ 2017

Jan 09 - Jan 13
Hollywood, CA
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!