HOUSTON — Facebook has asked a federal court to toss a $1 billion libel suit filed by a former adult star who claims that the company allowed lies to circulate about her on the social media site.
Those lies, former performer Lady Paree alleges in her suit, include statements posted that she was born a man.
The motion to dismiss request said that Facebook isn’t subject to jurisdiction in Texas and that the federal Communications Decency Act immunizes service providers against claims based on user-generated content.
“A fair reading of [Paree’s] complaint reveals that she seeks to hold the Facebook defendants liable for failing to prevent or failing to remove allegedly defamatory statements on Facebook’s website,” Facebook counsel wrote. “As many courts have made clear, however, “the monitoring, screening, and deletion of user-generated content are actions quintessentially related to a publisher’s role.
"As a result, any activity that can be boiled down to deciding whether to exclude material that third parties seek to post online is perforce immune under Section 230 [of the CDA],” Facebook counsel wrote.
Alternatively, Facebook said in the motion that if the court doesn’t dismiss the case, it should transfer the case to California, where the company is based from Texas.
Paree’s suit named Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg, a man named Kyle Anders and three John Does as defendants. She filed the suit pro se, or on her own behalf.
Paree, a 41-year-old biological female, said that she moved to Los Angeles in 1993 to pursue a career in porn spanning from 1991 to 1997.
During those years she starred in dozens of adult films, including “Seymore Butts in Paradise,” “How to Suck a Dick,” “The Knocker Room” and “Ho the Man Down,” according to the IMDb.
In the lawsuit, Paree noted that she also sued Leisure Time Entertainment in 2009, accusing the studio and its operator of publishing defamatory statements claiming she was born with both male and female body parts.
“After a bench trial … the court found that [Paree] was in fact born a woman, had never been a man, had never undergone any type of transgender procedure and that the defendants had actual knowledge she was a woman when they published statements that she was born a man,” Paree’s suit said. “Consequently, the court awarded [Paree] $2.5 million in compensatory damages and an additional $50,000 in punitive damages.
Paree claimed that the defamatory statements caused her to be battered by fans and has been at risk for violent interactions ever since.
In one instance, she said that a fan slashed her face open with a knife, requiring 150 stitches and cosmetic surgery.
Following the Leisure Time suit, Paree claimed that the defendants continued to publish false statements that she was born a man through Facebook pages operated by the social media site and Zuckerberg.
Paree said in the suit that Zuckerberg and Facebook caused her to suffer and continues to make her suffer over the continued posting of lies.
She’s made claims of libel and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
A Houston federal judge has yet to rule on Facebook’s motion to dismiss.