Florida Court Realizes Its Mistake, Reverses Order For Ripoff Report To Take Down Content

from the good-to-see dept

At the beginning of January, we wrote about a troubling court ruling in Florida, where a judge ordered XCentric, the operators of Ripoff Report, to remove some content from their website, despite the company’s policy against such removals and the clear and well-established safe harbors for Ripoff Report from Section 230. There were some serious problems with this ruling beyond just the Section 230 questions, including the prior restraint issue, whereby content was ordered taken offline despite the lack of a full evidentiary hearing on the merits.

Thankfully, the judge who made this clearly incorrect ruling was not re-elected, and the case was handed off to another judge who quickly righted the wrong, noting that Ripoff Report was clearly protected by Section 230 of the CDA. Perhaps even more interesting is that Paul Alan Levy, who was preparing an amicus brief for the appeal, was able to get his hands on the original transcripts of the hearing and highlights just how troubling the initial ruling was on a prior restraint basis, in that the order was not based on any findings of the likelihood of success of the original defamation claims:

The transcript of the hearing at which the original TRO against the author was adopted is particularly revealing.   The order was not based on any findings of likelihood of success that the author would be found liable on the defamation claims; everybody understood that the only objective was to facilitate an order against XCentric.  The author never conceded that she was even negligent in making her statement that Giordano was a convicted felon, not to speak of acting with actual malice as would be required for a judgment of defamation assuming that Giordano is a public figure.  Indeed, there was some suggestion that Giordano had told the author that he had previously been in trouble with the law.  So, perhaps he was a felon, just not a convicted felon?  The author apparently stood by everything else she had said about Giordano; yet the judge ordered XCentric to take the entire statement down because, the judge said, he didn’t want to be involved in editing the statement. 

And this is exactly part of the problem. The judge was in such a rush to shut down the content, no effort was made to determine if there was a true legal basis for removing the content.

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Companies: ripoff report, xcentric

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Comments on “Florida Court Realizes Its Mistake, Reverses Order For Ripoff Report To Take Down Content”

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17 Comments
Chris in Utah (profile) says:

Re:

Borrowed from a AC or was it? chime in if you reconiz it.

Nice way of destroying any reasonable debate.

Your “talk” reminds me of the abortion debate. How do you suddenly turn everything around to make the “other side” look like terrible monsters?

Easy: Call one side “Pro-Life”, and the other side “Pro-Choice”. It’s impossible to choose a side, because the implication is that you are either a murderer or a fascist.

End result: People shut up, they are too afraid to take sides and become much easier to manipulate. Mission accomplished.

Work both sides for….

Betty Elder says:

I agree with you Ed..

Everyone should use Ripoff.com had someone used it to post the dirt on Leslie Leland Hair-Ex she wouldn’t have been able to scam me out of 200,000. She is a convicted felon has done a year in prison for fraud was on the run until they caught up with her in Atlanta, GA. She has other arrest for using other people’s credit cards & she is still stealing money through a Western Union scam. She not only got me for the money but she also forged my name to purchase a Range Rover in Florida. I took out a warrant for identity theft & forgery but the Atlanta DA’s office took over a year to bring it to court then to top it off she had a public defender free of charge but owns 3 businesses after over a yr the DA said they had to drop the charge cause it wasn’t identity theft. I was able to get the case reopened & the DA finally decided to actually investigate the case but then called me and said the Statue Of Limitations has run out. Thank you Ripoff.com maybe I can stop her from doing it to someone else.

Annoyed says:

Fahq

My mentally Ill brother posted some completely false and scathing things about my mothers business on ripoffreport. He has since been convicted of cyber harassment and has a year of jail hanging over his head. Problem is, instead of putting HIS name as the author of said report, he chose to sign it as my younger brother. So, how would I go about getting rid of report?

And what happens when you report ripoffreport? Bet they delete it.

Eric says:

R.I.P. Dear Brother

My brother was a good person, did not intentionally harm anyone, and simply struggled through life like everyone else. He did not always make the right decisions, but his intentions were never evil. He had a large heart. His only flaw was that he didn’t handle difficult situations very well (We are all guilty of that).

Ex-girlfriends and ex-employees took to ripoffreport.com to get revenge.

The posts haunted him every single day, for years. He simply couldn’t move forward. He legally changed his name in 2009, in an attempt to hide from this website, but even that didn’t fix it.

He was unable to work, have a serious relationship, or move forward after these posts were made. My brother never recovered from these posts.

After years of struggling to recover, he simply couldn’t do it any longer. He took his own life on 12/14/2011 in Orlando, FL. He referenced these posts many times in his final words. These posts haunted him daily.

I hope my reply makes people think about the damage that can be done by posting negative things on the internet about another person. Everyone has feelings, and they are real.

My brother will be buried sometime next week.

R.I.P. Dear Brother.

GodCzALL says:

R.I.P. Dear Brother

im so sorry for your loss .. I just recently joined this site.. I could never post about a person.. I did post about a company who tried to pull a fast one on me I just wanted people to beaware of their scam .. for other people to post things about the next person is truly wrong. its like when my neighbors moved in next door lots of people told me different stories about them some people said he was great some people told me other. I never listened to the he say she said until I received a letter telling me he was a convinced rapist … there after I still didn’t pass judgment just kept a even more closer eye on my children. I never just tell people “oh he’s a rapist ” because I don’t know the whole story .. it could have been a girl he was having relations with that lied about her age and when the guardian found out they pressed charges .. so you do have a good point people should not post things about other people unless they know the WHOLE TRUTH and NOT just one side of a story .. I wish you and your family well and pray you find closure on this issue …

sindie says:

Shameless

It is not fair nor right to use a person name etc..just because someone wants to get even…
My heart goes out to the man that lost his brother..shame on them..they have to live with the truth of what they.did.
Sites like this are very danguros..Check out the facts.and never put a post up that harms anyone..in fact who in the hell does this person thinks he is? By putting this site up he has proberly hurt a lot of ppl..
Why don’t we put up a site just on him? Let him knows what it feels like BUT no..we would be just a asshole like him.

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