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Jones v. Dirty World Entertainment Recording LLC

755 F.3d 398 (2014)

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Jones v. Dirty World Entertainment Recording LLC

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

755 F.3d 398 (2014)

Facts

Nik Lamas-Richie and Dirty World Entertainment Recordings LLC (defendants) operate www.TheDirty.com, a website that publishes user-submitted comments, photographs, and videos. The website is essentially a tabloid targeting nonpublic figures. Richie and his staff choose which submissions to publish, but they do not alter or edit them other than making deletions. Submissions appear authored by a single, anonymous user identified as The Dirty Army, followed by comments Richie writes, signed “-nik.” The website posted photographs of Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader and teacher Sarah Jones (plaintiff), with user-written comments saying disparaging things about her personal life. Richie added his own comments below the posts. The first said Jones’s companion was a sex addict, the second said, “Why are all high school teachers freaks in the sack?” and the third said Richie was no longer jealous of students who had a cheerleader for a teacher. Richie refused to remove the posts until Jones sued. Richie requested dismissal, arguing the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (CDA) barred Jones’s state-law defamation claims. The district court declined, reasoning that the act did not provide immunity for someone who becomes a developer of third-party postings by adding comments that encourage or invite them. Richie appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Gibbons, J.)

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