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SexSearch Attorneys Ask Court to Dismiss Ohio Case

SexSearch Attorneys Ask Court to Dismiss Ohio Case
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May 30, 2007 10:09 AM PDT    Text size: 
TOLEDO, Ohio — Attorneys defending SexSearch.com and its partnering companies on Friday asked a federal judge to dismiss claims that the social-networking site neglected its duty to filter out participation with minors.

In the latest court filing, SexSearch counsel said that the plaintiff is attempting to sidestep the full text of its Terms and Conditions, including the company’s warning for minors to stay off the site.

“Plaintiff cobbled his claims together by pulling sound bites out of context from those documents to support his protestations that he is not at fault for engaging in unlawful sex with a minor,” SexSearch attorneys said in the filing.

Filed in U.S. District Court in Toledo, Ohio, the suit alleges that SexSearch, as well as its executives and partners, committed fraud, violated Ohio consumer laws and markets children to adults for sexual purposes, among other accusations.

The case centers around an adult male who said he was tricked into believing that the minor was in fact over the age 18 because she posted information that stated such and that SexSearch represented to him that it verifies the age of all members who use their site.

More than a month after having consensual intercourse with the minor at her home, the man was arrested and charged with a variety of charges of unlawful conduct with a minor. The man, whose age has not been revealed, could face up to 15 years in prison, but his criminal trial has not yet commenced.

The 14-year-old minor, whose profile was active on SexSearch until it was removed by her parents, included her photo on the site, as well as listings that said she was looking for a “1 on 1 sexual encounter” and that her ideal match included her interest in a male “who can last for a long time.” Friday’s filing emphasized that the plaintiff’s opposition to arguments of SexSearch’s age-verification system is “so devoid of analysis that it is a tacit admission that dismissal is warranted.”

“No matter what, plaintiff cannot overcome the causation hurdle: his decision to have sex with Jane Roe was the supervening and intervening cause of his damages and not any act by the SexSearch.com site,” the filing said.

The suit’s long list of defendants include some well-known adult industry brand names in addition to SexSearch, including Moniker Online Services, Manic Media and Stallion.com. Also listed as defendants are SexSearch executives Ed Kunkel, Damian Cross and Adam Small, as well as SexSearch hosting company ExperiencedInternet.com.

Claims against Playboy, Jenna Jameson and Club Jenna — once named as defendants in the suit — have been dismissed.

SexSearch attorneys in Friday’s filing said that the case has already gone on long enough and are asking the court to drop it.

“Plaintiff has had his due process, and his meritless case should be dismissed now to ensure that Congress’ and the Ohio Legislature’s goals are met to immunize publishers from tort claims based on published content,” SexSearch attorneys said. “The complaint fails to state a claim and should be dismissed with prejudice and without leave to amend.”

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