On May 31, 2016 the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed a ruling against Internet Brands and attorneys representing Craigslist and Facebook in the sexual abuse case Doe v. Internet Brands, Inc. The Court stated that “California law imposes a duty to warn a potential victim of third-party harm.” Craigslist and Facebook appeared through, or by filing, an amicus brief.
Jane Doe, represented by Jeff Herman of Herman Law, argued that the website Model Mayhem did not properly warn its members of Lavont Flanders and Emerson Callum, who had victimized females posting profiles on the website in a scam to drug the women and use them in pornography. Upon the purchase of Model Mayhem, Internet Brands, Inc. was informed of the scheme of these two men and therefore had the duty to warn users, like Jane Doe.
Internet giants such as Facebook and Craigslist backed Model Mayhem because this will now affect all internet-based companies as they have a duty to warn their members of potential dangers that website users might pose to them.
“This is an important decision that will impact both users and service providers,” said Herman in an interview with VICE. “I think it’s fair to call this the internet accountability decision since websites are no longer free to ignore known safety risks without potential liability.”
With this ruling could come possible changes to the Communication Decency Act and the debate on the Internet and the duty to warn users.
Herman Law is a Boca Raton based law firm that represents victims across the United States and is nationally recognized for their work advocating for survivors of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation and rape. Always an advocate and champion for their clients’ rights, Herman law has worked with more than 1,000 survivors nationwide.
For additional information on this landmark case or Herman Law, please contact Jeff Herman.