NEW YORK CITY — The 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Wednesday ruled against a New Yorker who sued Grindr, alleging the company failed to take action when an ex-boyfriend used the hookup app to send 1,100 men to his home in an apparent harassment campaign.
The 3-0 decision against Matthew Herrick rejected his claims of negligence against Grindr. “Though U.S. Circuit Judges Dennis Jacobs, Reena Raggi and Raymond Lohier ruled against Herrick unanimously, they issued their decision via summary order, meaning that it cannot be cited as precedent. The Second Circuit hears appeals from New York, Connecticut and Vermont,” notes the Courthouse News Service (CNS). "Last year, U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni expressed sympathy for Herrick’s experiences, but she ultimately found that Grindr was not at fault."
While the creation of the false profiles "may be sufficiently extreme and outrageous, Grindr did not create the profiles," said Judge Caproni in January 2018. Grindr’s attorney, Daniel Waxman, persuaded the court that the company is immune from liability under the Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996, the federal law that shields companies from liability for publishing third-party content.
Tor Ekeland, attorney for Matthew Herrick, argued the CDA is outdated and “cannot be applied to a 21st Century product-liability case,” he said. “They’re allowing Big Tech to knowingly profit from stalking, rape and murder, when Big Tech companies are the only ones who can stop it,” he told CNS.
Grindr touted the legal victory in a statement. “While we are sympathetic to the plaintiff’s situation, we are pleased that Grindr has been vindicated and that this matter was dismissed by the courts,” they said. “Grindr has and always will be committed to creating a safe and secure environment to help our community connect and thrive.”
Herrick’s suit against Grindr had been closely watched by the adult industry, particularly in the wake of FOSTA-SESTA, as it carried the potential to make companies legally liable for actions carried out by users of their platforms.
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