Section 230 Doesn’t Protect Employer From Negligent Supervision Claim–Lansing v. Southwest Airlines. Warning: Ugly Opinion

30 06 2012

By Eric Goldman

June 20, 2012

[this case does not involve IP directly. However, the implications of narrowing the section 230 ISP safe harbor has broad application for online IP, ed.]

Lansing v. Southwest Airlines Co., 2012 IL App (1st) 101164 (Ill. Ct. App. June 8, 2012)


This is a bad opinion. The court reaches the correct result that 47 USC 230 doesn’t immunize an employer for an employee’s activities. However, in reaching that fairly obvious result, the opinion—completely gratuitously—denigrates Section 230 in ways that seem designed to shrink Section 230’s footprint in other types of cases. Making the immunity more limited as binding Illinois law will lead to plenty of unnecessary and costly mischief with no countervailing benefit. As a result, this opinion would benefit from an appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court to clean up the doctrinal sloppiness, even if the Supreme Court affirms the substantive ruling.


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