Scuba Diving Organizer Sues Web Forum After Debate Over Scuba Death Liability

from the hello-section-230,-hello-streisand dept

When will companies learn? Blaine points us to a story that’s now a few months old, but still worth talking about. Apparently, two years ago, there was a scuba diving accident where someone died and some others were injured. On a particular scuba diving forum,, there was a discussion about the incident. Apparently there had already been some other somewhat negative postings about the travel agency, Maldives Scuba Diving, that organized (and potentially ran) the trip, and from there the conversation spiraled. The person who owns the travel agency decided to sue just about everyone, including For ScubaBoard, it seems like this should be a quick Section 230 dismissal based on safe harbors, but the site’s owner is apparently still scrounging up the money to deal with this. Also, the complaint apparently tries to get around this by claiming that commenters on the message boards are “all agents or employees of Intermedia [ScubaBoard’s owner], or made the postings at issue at Intermedia’s direction.” That’s an argument that is likely to get laughed out of court.

There may be some cases against individual posters, but the comments sound like your ordinary comment board opinion and hyperbole. At least in the quoted comments, it’s difficult to see anything that’s actually defamatory. Upsetting? Perhaps, but not defamatory. It sounds like something bad happened, and whether or not the operator of this company was responsible, there were plenty of better ways to respond. However, busting out the lawsuit, suing the message board itself, as well as 100 posters, just seems to reinforce the problems and bring even more attention to the accident and the concerns people have with this woman’s company.

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Comments on “Scuba Diving Organizer Sues Web Forum After Debate Over Scuba Death Liability”

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Ima Fish (profile) says:

Wait just a gosh darned minute, are you saying that Maldives Scuba Diving sends divers to their water graves due to their unforgivable negligence? Is that what you’re saying? That Maldives Scuba Diving actions have led to the death of an innocent person? Based on my subjective and utterly ignorant and highly sarcastic opinions, it would seem that divers who value their lives would avoid Maldives Scuba Diving at all costs, right?

dymphna says:

it seems laughable

but a friend of mine lost their site over something equally stupid a couple of years back. When the persons involved couldn’t find purchase with a standard lawsuit, they simply went for an internet smear campaign. The latter worked where the former had failed. The guy lost almost everything and had to start from scratch.

— Just to be clear – I mean that someone was trying to sue his site the way this diving company is trying to sue scubaboard. And *then* they took the smear route.

Anonymous Coward says:

the interesting thing is that the case has merits, if employees or agents of the board were posting negative comments. it is a real issue for boards that give any recompense (monetary or prestige) to moderators, posters, or staff members. considering recent case law as discussed here on techdirt, it would appear to have legs. ‘we have already shown that…’, you get the rest.

Scuba Board Doe? says:

Re: Law Suit

FYI SB “moderated” and locked down the discussion before the death and injuries.

The discussion involved a number of people who had dived with the operator, had very bad experiences, complained of and tried to warn others of what they viewed (and future events proved) to be unsafe practices of the operator.

The Canadian Travel Advisory issued a Travel warning for Canadian considering diving there. The compressor company Bauer issued a press release which was pretty clear about who should be held liable for the problems.

SB has a forum to discuss deaths and incidents to prevent further deaths and injuries. The matter was further discussed there. Some of it got heated and some perhaps not well worded. My personal opinion is based on participation in the discussions before/after the fatal incident as well a communicating privately with people who were personally involved up to and including performing CPR on the deceased. I wouldn’t put my worst enemy on a boat that had anything to do with that Dove Operator!

IMHO the global economic downturn, the increase in other options for Diving in the Maldives, and the fact that someone died and a number of others were ill and injured on their holidays with this operator explain the decrease in business the plaintiff suing over.

My question is.. why not sue the Canadian Government and The Bauer Corporation? They were much more vocal and damning.. oh my.. I wonder if it has more to do with the dollars and legal representation that is available to those entities?

The way this claim has been launched does not say good things about the Plaintiff, her legal representatives or the legal system. A foreign national launching a suit from another country over an event that occurred in a third country naming citizens of other countries.. makes my head spin!

Scubadiver says:

Re: Re: Re:

Anonymous Coward:
No, its not good buisness to let people walk all over you. Making sure you do your best not to CO poison your customers would be though..

The only problem is Scubaboard and the majority of its users never had an agenda to do so. Shes given them good reason to have one now though..
Scubaboard also is not the only place where the incident has been drawn to the public either.

And in addition we have the ripples this case can send all over the internet. If Gundi wins, it means anything anyone say on any forum about any company can get that forum shut down or in big economic missery.

DiverDude says:

Let the lawsuits begin

It is clear in my mind that the operator is simply grasping at straws in an attempt to get anything she can. I believe that summary judgement will be made in favor of Scubaboard and that will be the end of it, as it should be. Clearly this operator has done nothing to improve in any manner the reputation of the operation in the eyes of the diving community.

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