Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
liability, third party liability

Companies:
match.com



Woman Sues Match.com Because She Was Assaulted By Someone She Met On Site

from the misplaced-liability dept

A few years back, there was an online dating site, whose main differentiator was that it would supposedly do background checks on anyone who joined. That company had a habit of not just playing up this differentiator, but of trying to get laws passed that would make life difficult for other dating sites -- such as forcing them to put a warning on every page reading: "WARNING: WE HAVE NOT CONDUCTED A FELONY-CONVICTION SEARCH OR FBI SEARCH ON THIS INDIVIDUAL." Thankfully, it doesn't seem like those lobbying efforts have gotten very far, but I'm reminded of this because of a new lawsuit filed against Match.com by a woman, who claims she was sexually assaulted by a man she met on the site. This is, of course, horrible. But the fault lies with the guy, not with Match.com

In fact, the whole thing seems suspiciously similar to those old attempts to get such laws passed, in that the woman isn't asking for monetary damages, but to require Match.com to run background checks on everyone. Of course, this is a liability question and it's difficult to see how Match.com could or should be liable here. Obviously, when you meet someone you don't know, there are risks, but pinning the liability on the tool people use to meet seems quite problematic.

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  1. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), 20 Apr 2011 @ 10:08am

    Re:

    47 USC 230 immunizes Match.com from this lawsuit. It's amazing how little of the press reports have noted that obvious fact. Eric

    I was going to put that into the post... but I wasn't entirely sure that's true. I thought Section 230 doesn't cover criminal activity (only civil), and would this be considered criminal activity?

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