Website Initially Denied 230 Dismissal But Gets It on Appeal–Shiamili v. Real Estate Group

21 12 2009

By Eric Goldman

Shiamili v. Real Estate Group of New York, Inc., 2009 WL 4842470 (N.Y. App. Div. Dec. 17, 2009)

Unfortunately, I am only working from a short and opaque appellate memo. It appears that the defendant operated a website that “administered and chose” to publish user comments. A third party posted an allegedly defamatory comment about the plaintiff, an NYC real estate broker, to the website. On this basis, we know that the website isn’t liable for the post per 47 USC 230. I don’t think I could do a comprehensive census of message board/user comment cases, but similar defense wins in the past 5 years include Finkel v. Facebook, Cornelius v. DeLuca, Joyner v. Lazzareschi, Raggi v. Las Vegas Police, Higher Balance v. Quantum, Best Western v. Furber, Gregerson v. Vilana, Universal Communications System v. Lycos, Eckert v. Microsoft, DiMeo v. Max, Hammer v. Amazon and Faegre & Benson v. Purdy (wow, this list is a blast from the past!). I’m not including the pure web hosting cases or any of the Ripoff Report cases, yet I’m sure there are other cases I’m forgetting. Indeed, given the airtight nature of the precedent, I personally think plaintiffs should be sanctioned for bringing such meritless cases.


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