Ripoff Report May Be “Appalling,” But It Still Gets 47 USC 230 Immunity–Giordano v. Romeo

10 01 2012

By Eric Goldman

Giordano v. Romeo, 2011 WL 6782933 (Fla. App. Ct. Dec. 28, 2011). . . . .

Some quick background. In the wake of the Seventh Circuit’s Blockowicz ruling, which said that Ripoff Report couldn’t be forced to remove a third party post under FRCP 65, a Florida state court judge went off the rails in a similar case. That judge held that 47 USC 230 did not prevent the judge from ordering Ripoff Report to remove the user post. This was a rogue ruling by a judge who clearly wasn’t interested in what the law actually said. In an interesting turn, that judge wasn’t reelected (the voters apparently got it right on that one!) and the case transferred to a new trial judge, who promptly reversed the ruling and upheld Ripoff Report’s 230 immunity.

On appeal, the intermediate appellate court upheld the second trial judge’s ruling in a short (and, as you can see, sharp) ruling. In 2001, the Florida Supreme Court, in Doe v. AOL, adopted a broad reading of 230 as Florida law, and this court sees that ruling as dispositive: “Consequently, under Florida law, section 230 of the CDA ‘creates a federal immunity to any cause of action that would make service providers liable for information originating with a third-party user of the service.'”


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