Libel Lawsuit Has A Bunch Of Crazy Ideas About How Section 230 Immunity Works

from the and-RICO-too! dept

If you want a masterclass in misunderstanding pretty much everything about Section 230 of the CDA, this libel lawsuit -- filed by a massage business owner against a Redditor, Reddit, and a few board members -- will fill this really weird hole in your life. I won't judge. But I will ask questions. Judgmental questions. (h/t Eric Goldman)

Also, it's a RICO lawsuit.

There's a lot to unpack here, so we'll start at the top. The plaintiffs claim someone known as "DiggDejected" on Reddit libeled their massage business by claiming… well, the claims aren't exactly clear. The lawsuit claims the disputed content is "libel per-se," but never actually details the content of the disputed posts other than say one of them suggested the its spa parties for kids "gave kids diseases."

The complaint [PDF] complains Reddit has never removed the posts the plaintiffs claim are "illegal" defamation. It also asks the court to ignore the fact that the statute of limitations has run out on some of the content they're suing about. It's that kind of a lawsuit.

The RICO allegations are as bad as you'd expect. Possibly even worse. First, the plaintiffs claim the Redditor, Reddit board members, and the site itself are conspiring to keep this libelous content on the site. That's only part of it, though. There's also a conspiracy theory (in the Alex Jones way, not the "actionable tort" way) presented that says the members of Reddit's board being sued are also involved with Y Combinator, the famous startup accelerator.

Apparently, Y Combinator funded a mobile on-demand startup called "UnwindMe." The plaintiffs claim this company is in direct competition with their company, which also provides on-call massages. This startup is now dead -- the one directly funded by Y Combindator. It was then acquired by Soothe, Inc., another competitor not linked with the defendants, but the lawsuit imagines whatever compensation they obtained from the sale of UnwindMe motivated Reddit's refusal to take down derogatory posts about the plaintiffs and their massage company.

After delivering several paragraphs detailing this highly-attenuated conspiracy theory (and doing irreversible damage to readers' brain cells and patience), the plaintiffs arrive at this conclusion.

The above statements establish that there was a financial and racketeering motive for the maintenance of this post. This could have easily been at the request of Justin Bassett, Alexis Ohanian, or Samuel Altman, or anyone else who was invested in Soothe, in order to prevent our success as a major competing brand to Soothe, Inc. It is quite possible and, in fact, likely, that the other founders of Reddit are also invested in Soothe, Inc., with the potential for racketeering profits hanging in the balance of the success or failure of our competing company.

So... that's the RICO end of it, summarized but probably not clarified. I'm sorry. I tried.

Here's the Section 230 end of it, which has to be read to be believed. And by "believed," I mean proof exists that people are failing to comprehend Section 230 immunity in new and exciting ways.

The first way is to claim that Section 230 immunity for social media platforms shouldn't exist because it prevents plaintiffs from suing platforms for content they didn't create. Seriously.

The purpose of our court system is providing a lawful forum for the redress of grievances. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act should not, then, be read, in such a manner, that a libeled, or otherwise illegally and unlawfully violated, person, persons, business, or service provided by a business, cannot find suitable legal remedy for provable crimes of libel, and others, with no means of having such harmful statements deleted, retracted, or have anyone whatsoever, held liable for various damages arising from violations of various rules and laws.

Just to be clear: at the federal level, libel is not a crime. Just to be even clearer, Section 230 immunity only prevents plaintiffs like these from suing Reddit over content created by third party users. It does not prevent them from suing the person who posted it. All these plaintiffs have to do is remove every defendant but the one that actually posted the supposed libel and all these "problems" with Section 230 will simply melt away.

But no. There's more wrong to be had. The plaintiffs are right the CDA was enacted to help protect children from online pornography. But everything else is just wrong. The lawsuit actually claims FOSTA and its Section 230 collateral damage was not just instrumental, but essential, to the shutdown and prosecution of Backpage and its owners.

In addition, a more recent law has removed many of the protections afforded by Section 230, in giving specific redresses to persons who have been violated by certain forum type websites. In fact, BackPage.com was literally shut down (actually seized by the federal government "as part of an enforcement action by the [FBI], the [USPIS], and the [IRS] Criminal Investigation Division", without warning, upon passage of the FOSTA act) over third party posting of content to their site on the basis of the newly enacted FOSTA Bill. This bill removes the legal shield for websites that post content created by others, and enables states and victims to obtain redress and recover damages.

This law, specifically, caused the shutdown and seizure of the website backpage.com, which was a known advertising forum for prostitution, human trafficking, and sex slavery, while hiding behind the shield of Section 230. Just as in that instance, the laws should be interpreted as they were designed to be interpreted, and, as stated before, should not allow perpetrators of real crimes to hide behind laws that were never meant to protect them from prosecution for true criminal acts.

This is wrong. Just completely wrong.

The other stuff in there, I assume, alludes to the RICO, but it's impossible to tell since the plaintiffs fervently believe libel is also a criminal act -- something evidenced by all the FBI raids targeting suspected defamers.

Building on the premise that the CDA was meant to protect children, the plaintiffs say Section 230 immunity should be ignored by the court and replaced with some sort of Section 230 protection for the plaintiffs. I can't try to understand this for you. You're on your own.

PROTECTION UNDER SECTION 230 FOR PLANTIFFS, RATHER THAN DEFENDANTS. A Child who has gone to our parties, or a classmate, or friend, of a kid who has attended our parties, may see the post and (wrongly ) believe they, themselves, or their fnend who attended, has contracted a disease. Such is not beyond reasonable,as we host Kids Galleries that the children visit, and we've had thousands of attendees. Such would clearly be traumatic and stress-producing, possibly causing social stigma, and is clearly within purview of the main intent of Section 230. So rather than Defendants being protected. Plaintiffs assert that we, Donn Albano, Heather Miller, Mountainside Diversified,and our brands. Mobile kids Spa Parties and Mountainside Diversified, and websites NJmassages.com, and NJmassage.info, are in fact, the protected parties in this instance.

I guess I can get behind this. I agree the plaintiffs shouldn't be sued for derogatory content posted by Redditors.

The lawsuit ends on a hopeful note though. Well, it actually goes on for a few more paragraphs, including demands for $1 million, immediate and permanent removal of "hateful and harassing statements," and for the judge to order this removal even if it finds Section 230 immunizes Reddit against this lawsuit. But the hopeful note is exactly that: the airing of a wishlist, following the airing of grievances.

It is my hope that this court will understand that there is a lot more going on in this particular case than simply a case of a third party posting a random statement on Reddit, and that this particular case actually seems to involve collusion and conspiracy, in violation of multiple federal laws and statutes, and that even smaller businesses should be protected from predatory companies, whether they are social media sites or other types of sites. Section 230 should not be broadly interpreted in this instance, as it does not apply when conspiracy, as demonstrated herein, has occurred. The CDA was not drafted to serve as a blanket immunity against redress, or a nullification of legal due process.

Ok, then. The "understand" part of this wish is going to need a hell of a lot of hope. This lawsuit, like many other lawsuits (pretty much all other lawsuits, actually) is simply asking for the court to find in favor of its legal theories and punish/reward appropriately. That's fine. But you can't win if you're so completely wrong about the law, as these plaintiffs are.

Filed Under: alexis ohanian, cda 230, defamation, diggdejected, donn albano, heather miller, libel, pro se, rico, section 230
Companies: mobile kids spa parties, reddit, ycombinator


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 May 2019 @ 3:22pm

    Let me guess: Self filed.

    Am I right?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 May 2019 @ 3:29pm

    Re: Let me guess: Self filed.

    Or a lawyer with a degree from the university created by the DHS.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. icon
    jonr (profile), 30 May 2019 @ 3:35pm

    Pure gold

    Tim barely scratched the surface of the crazy here (and yes, it's pro se). Sample quote: "Wikipedia, long held to be the definite, accepted, science-based, 'Correct' answer for almost everything known..." This being a lead-in to a section trying to assert that changing ads daily amounts to daily republication, thus skirting the statute of limitations.

    I swear, if you were trying to write a parody of pro se Internet lawsuits, you couldn't top this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    Dan (profile), 30 May 2019 @ 3:43pm

    Re: Let me guess: Self filed.

    Yep, it's pro se.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 May 2019 @ 3:44pm

    something evidenced by all the FBI raids targeting suspected defamers.

    Noooo! Do not say things like this... you'll give... people "better" ideas about "resource" deployment

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 30 May 2019 @ 3:45pm

    Wrong Laws Used

    They would have been better off just DMCA'ing the posts. That would have gotten them taken down, and there would have been no backlash for lying. Now, they just might get to pay the defendants legal bills. With a whole lot of luck, the lawyers get sanctioned, or if it is pro se they get one really nasty lecture from the judge.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 30 May 2019 @ 3:50pm

    Re: Wrong Laws Used

    Sad but true, he absolutely should be forced to pay the defendant's legal bills though I wouldn't bet on it, and of course it's pro se.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. icon
    Dan (profile), 30 May 2019 @ 4:14pm

    "Can't"?

    But you can't win if you're so completely wrong about the law, as these plaintiffs are.

    Well, you'd hope not, anyway. There have been some stunningly-bad decisions reported here...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 30 May 2019 @ 4:21pm

    Ah spaghetti legal filings...

    Where you throw everything you can think of at the wall/judge in the hope that something will stick.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 30 May 2019 @ 4:21pm

    This boils down to someone online said something mean about us & we imagine a pathway so we can sue the hell out of these rich guys who probably not even aware we exist nor cared until we launched our 22 kajillion dollar lawsuit... b/c the only reason someone said mean things about us was b/c he used that platform & some people connected to a platform acquired a business with competes with us (a 2 owner business without national reach) so its to force us out of business and not just we had an unhappy customer so we need to get paid.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 May 2019 @ 4:48pm

    Re: "Can't"?

    Well, you'd hope not, anyway. There have been some stunningly-bad decisions reported here...

    Citation needed.

    You have no idea what you're talking about.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 May 2019 @ 4:51pm

    Re: Pure gold

    I swear, if you were trying to write a parody of pro se Internet lawsuits, you couldn't top this.

    So what's actually wrong? Details, please.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 May 2019 @ 5:04pm

    Re: "Can't"?

    Well, you'd hope not, anyway. There have been some stunningly-bad decisions reported here...

    Yeah... You might want to ask a lawyer. Don't go believe everything you read on Techdirt, they make up shit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 May 2019 @ 5:10pm

    Re: Re: Pure gold

    So what's actually wrong? Details, please.

    Okay, here's a link that describes it for you since you obviously didn't read the article before posting: https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20190524/20345442275/libel-lawsuit-has-bunch-crazy-ideas-about-how -section-230-immunity-works.shtml

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 May 2019 @ 5:12pm

    Re: Re: Pure gold

    Hi Donn, thanks for stopping by.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. icon
    Madd the Sane (profile), 30 May 2019 @ 5:16pm

    Re: Re: Pure gold

    A better question would be what is right, if anything, with the lawsuit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 30 May 2019 @ 5:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Pure gold

    Well, he made sure not to use crayon through the entire document and spelled his own name correctly(I assume), that's got to count for something, right?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Rocky, 30 May 2019 @ 5:32pm

    Re: Re: "Can't"?

    they make up shit.

    You mean in the sense what you just did?

    I can do it too: How much money do they pay you to shit-post here?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 May 2019 @ 5:35pm

    Re: Re: I know which one I’d bet on.

    Speaking of citations. You got one there bro? Or are you just talking out your ass because you’re so jelly people keep trying to spread you between two pieces of bread?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 May 2019 @ 5:57pm

    Where the fuck is Poochie, anyway?

    An article about Section 230 and no John Smith in the comments?

    ...Wow, he really is grieving for Shiva!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. icon
    Dan (profile), 30 May 2019 @ 6:18pm

    Re: Re: "Can't"?

    You might want to ask a lawyer.

    I am one, thanks.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22. icon
    Dan (profile), 30 May 2019 @ 6:29pm

    Re: Re: "Can't"?

    You have no idea what you're talking about.

    Yeah, I guess that law degree, licenses, and 20+ years of practice don't mean anything. But if you haven't seen a decision here that you thought was way off the mark, you just haven't been reading long.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 May 2019 @ 6:32pm

    Whew!

    Thank goodness this is a pro se filing. I was worried that the bar might be letting just any nutter put up a shingle as a lawyer.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 May 2019 @ 6:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: "Can't"?

    Me, I don't call you wrong about the bad decisions. I'd just like your take on which ones were decided spectacularly poorly and why they were problematic from a legal standpoint.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 30 May 2019 @ 7:47pm

    Yeah, about that...

    Sadly, they pretty much do, as any number of 'lawyers' TD has covered over the years makes clear. From Van Dyke to Carreon, Prenda to Righthaven, it's pretty clear that while there are some good lawyers if the bar does have a standard it's so low you'd need heavy excavation equipment to find it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26. identicon
    Agammamon, 30 May 2019 @ 7:59pm

    Re: Re: "Can't"?

    Ah, just the guy I was thinking about when I read this part;

    . . . The first way is to claim that Section 230 immunity for social media platforms shouldn't exist because it prevents plaintiffs from suing platforms for content they didn't create. Seriously.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27. identicon
    Agammamon, 30 May 2019 @ 8:04pm

    Re: Whew!

    I was worried that the bar might be letting just any nutter put up a shingle as a lawyer.

    Por que no los dos?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 May 2019 @ 8:04pm

    Think this says it all about the plaintiffs

    "Plaintiffs request Your Honor to permit time for Plaintiffs, relatively inexperienced Pro Se litigants, to subpoena and get information for the identity of DiggDejected."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 May 2019 @ 8:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: "Can't"?

    Dan McLaughingstock?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 May 2019 @ 8:54pm

    Perhaps it's time to appoint counsel in all pro-se cases or require prefiling review, since a pro se cannot get a fair trial and it's obvious the judiciary is biased against them. A pro se who survives a motion to dismiss should definitely get one.

    There is a vague argument in there that Section 230 violates the Due Process Clause, but courts have already addressed that indirectly.

    An "internet court" for libel cases or treating it as a multi-jurisdictional case would allow everyone to not have to travel.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 May 2019 @ 10:05pm

    Re:

    Not gonna happen jhonboi. Keep crying though.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 May 2019 @ 11:20pm

    Re:

    Hi, John! Finally wiped away all your tears and back to throwing subpoenas and fighting words.

    How is it that everyone on the side of copyright enforcement and anti-Section 230 campaign all happen to be douchebags with a soul full of dog shit?

    What's that saying again - "a man who represents himself has a fool for a client"?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 May 2019 @ 11:30pm

    Re:

    Perhaps it's time to appoint counsel in all pro-se cases or require prefiling review, since a pro se cannot get a fair trial

    The law is not written a way to protect you from your own irresponsible idiocy.

    it's obvious the judiciary is biased against them

    Oh, it's because you think any judgment you dislike is a result of judicial bias. Nice try.

    There is a vague argument in there that Section 230 violates the Due Process Clause

    Any citation?

    but courts have already addressed that indirectly

    Ah, the good old MyNameHere "because I said so" method. What a big fucking surprise.

    An "internet court" for libel cases or treating it as a multi-jurisdictional case would allow everyone to not have to travel.

    And this would solve your pet gripe about being unable to sue the anonymous Russian burner email account, how exactly?

    Here's a better idea: instead of wasting the court's time because someone rustled your jimmies, stop thinking the entire planet revolves around you and your pwecious feewings.

    Fuck's sake, and I thought your "short copyright terms would incentivize killing content creators" quip was about as dumb as you could possibly go...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 May 2019 @ 11:31pm

    Re: Re:

    You're replying to the guy who swore up and down that Judge Otis Wright was biased against Prenda and John Steele and was "no friend of intellectual property law".

    Bitching about judicial bias is Jhon Herrick Smith's thing, man. Don't harsh his mellow!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 May 2019 @ 11:51pm

    Re: Yeah, about that...

    Careful what you say. Jhon boi's in a trigger-happy mood today...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2019 @ 12:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Pure gold

    I am surprised that he didn't add in there where he was in a car accident on the way to the court house to file the complaint and deserves even more.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 31 May 2019 @ 12:59am

    Re: Re: Yeah, about that...

    Eh, just means more stress-testing of the flag system.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38. icon
    PaulT (profile), 31 May 2019 @ 1:30am

    Re:

    "Section 230 violates the Due Process Clause"

    How does something that says "you must sue the person who actually committed the deed, not the nearest available bystander" violate due process? It's explicitly there to protect it...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 31 May 2019 @ 2:15am

    Re: Re:

    Oh that's simple, it's because- LOOK, A DISTRACTION!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2019 @ 2:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Yeah, about that...

    Speaking of which, he's absolutely losing his shit in the Nancy Pelosi thread. Going all out with the "Techdirt censored me for a week" excuse too.

    What a fucking nutjob...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2019 @ 2:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: "Can't"?

    Oh, whoaaaa. Pssshhhhh. Buuuurrrrrnnnn. Ba-zing! Woooo hooo hooo hooo. Wow. Yeah. Tell it like it is, mate. Nice one, centurion. You showed him.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42. icon
    Dan (profile), 31 May 2019 @ 3:19am

    Re:

    Perhaps it's time to appoint counsel in all pro-se cases or require prefiling review

    I'd completely agree with a postfiling review. Anything that doesn't state a plausible claim can be immediately dismissed, with prejudice, saving defendants from having to respond to utterly idiotic claims like those contained here.

    it's obvious the judiciary is biased against them.

    My observation is that the judiciary bends over backward to accommodate pro se litigants, usually to the detriment of everyone else involved. Nonetheless, yes, there's some bias against litigants with utterly inane ideas about how the law works--which seem to be very common among pro se parties.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43. icon
    jonr (profile), 31 May 2019 @ 4:14am

    Oh my FSM, it gets better...

    I just got curious enough to go look on Reddit, and it turns out that DiggDejected didn't even make the original comment; they just posted a link/summary to that comment. The original comment was made by a deleted user, in an apparently deleted thread, but apparently when there's a direct link like this, it's still visible.

    Oh, and not surprisingly, when I Googled the company's URL, the Reddit comments didn't show up until page 5 of the results, not in the first 2 pages, after their own spam comment on the blog of a California church on page 4. Does it surprise anyone that the plaintiffs are apparently also spammers?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2019 @ 4:42am

    Re: Re:

    it's obvious the judiciary is biased against them
    Oh, it's because you think any judgment you dislike is a result of judicial bias.

    No, it's because a study by legal scholars concluded this, noting cases where pro ses had been lectured by judges for bringing arguments that were later successfully brought by attorneys. The ridicule a pro se gets just for being a pro se would indicate that self-representation does not work, and in strong cases (like personal injury), it extorts a third or more of a settlement from cases that a pro se could easily win in an unbiased judiciary.

    There is a vague argument in there that Section 230 violates the Due Process Clause
    Any citation?

    The part where they say they can't get justice because they can't sue a distributor of defamation. The same would apply to cases where the original publisher couldn't be traced.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
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    Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2019 @ 4:43am

    Re: Re:

    Hi, John! Finally wiped away all your tears and back to throwing subpoenas and fighting words.

    Actually TechDirt was censoring me, but obviously I couldn't post that.

    You're the only one crying so looks like you're drinking your own tears.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2019 @ 4:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Yeah, about that...

    Speaking of which, he's absolutely losing his shit in the Nancy Pelosi thread. Going all out with the "Techdirt censored me for a week" excuse too.
    What a fucking nutjob…

    It's always those who call others names like that who act more like the name implies.

    Mike Masnick's wife is married to a man who allows slurs like this in the comments of his website. She has no expectation of privacy, and her silence on this issue definitely makes her relevant to the discussion. The same is true of the site's sponsors.

    Yes this site DID censor me. Masnick can't handle "mean things" said about him, it would say. Point proven.

    Next up are quotes of comments like this in the online reviews of any attorney who has ever posted here, which will include their firms, firms which have OTHER attorneys who associate with those attorneys. Clients are free to hire cyberbullies or their friends as lawyers, but they should be made aware of their choices.

    Section 230 might not consider Masnick the publisher of these comments, but other countries do. He is therefore the cyberbully, and his wife is therefore married to one.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2019 @ 4:52am

    Re: Re:

    Perhaps it's time to appoint counsel in all pro-se cases or require prefiling review
    I'd completely agree with a postfiling review. Anything that doesn't state a plausible claim can be immediately dismissed, with prejudice, saving defendants from having to respond to utterly idiotic claims like those contained here.

    You claim to be an attorney. Please state your bar association number.

    Postfiling review would actually allow pro ses to file miscellaneous cases at a much lower rate to have them reviewed, and could initiate appeals without involving the other side. That actually helps them.

    it's obvious the judiciary is biased against them.
    My observation is that the judiciary bends over backward to accommodate pro se litigants, usually to the detriment of everyone else involved. Nonetheless, yes, there's some bias against litigants with utterly inane ideas about how the law works--which seem to be very common among pro se parties.

    The bias is more like they wait for the pro se to violate a procedural rule, and if that doesn't work, they misconstrue their arguments or just abandon precedent, while relying on the bias, knowing they will be sided with by the public due to the same bias.

    There are lawyers who actively ridicule pro se litigants, and at least one even routinely searches PACER for their pleadings. This could be construed as misconduct on many levels.

    The little clusterfuck of lawyers who do this think the entire internet cares about pro se litigation, when it's only a dozen or so.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
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    Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2019 @ 4:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Yeah, about that...

    Speaking of which, he's absolutely losing his shit in the Nancy Pelosi thread. Going all out with the "Techdirt censored me for a week" excuse too.

    Anyone who thinks anyone could "lose their shit" over a site so minor in its relevance, is the one who has probably lost it.

    The commenters hide behind monitors when hurling these bigoted slurs, and Michael Masnick hides behind them, even though it's clear he's the one allowing the conduct. That he censored ME for a week and not them all but constitutes an active endorsement of them.

    For all the money and status Mike has, he sure didn't score well in the wife department. That goes triple for one of his lawyer buddies who likes to call other men "incels" whern he's not projecting his own self-reported "demons" in his pathetic postings.

    Fortunately online-review sites can educate the public not just about these lawyers, but about any lawyer who works with them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2019 @ 5:12am

    Section 230 is fatally flawed because not all original publishers can be identified, particularly if IP address is not considered evidence of posting. All an IP owner has to do is say "I have no idea who was driving my car" to get off the hook. "Burner" cellphones can be used to connect to the internet and publish defamation that is then republished in perpetuity with full immunity. Republication of defamation is a separate harm from the original publication: someone who posts libel to a small internet forum commits one harm, while the search engine which archives it and serves it up to future employers/clients/whatever creates a second harm.

    Even the rulings cited on this site include references to the "troubling" nature of Section 230.

    Then there is the risk to third parties who believe and then repeat, in their own words, without attribution, defamation they find online, and who are at risk for being sued as publishers rather than immune as distributors. Sometimes the original defamation is on a questionable site, such as a white-supremacist site, so the person doesn't link to it but instead publishes it on their own.

    Nancy Pelosi is the one who just got a crash course in Section 230 immunity, and she's got the power to nuke it. Just a matter of time before she does. Like with Article 13, the other side is losing badly, and getting so desperate that all they can do is make personal attacks that only show the need for stripping 230 immunity in the first place. This immunity has also NEVER been tested by the SCOTUS, and courts in other countries have held search engines liable for what others post.

    Don't be fooled by the oversimplifications which appear on this site.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2019 @ 5:20am

    Other constitutional violations against pro ses involve the award of attorney fees to a represented party against a pro se who cannot collect fees. This makes Rule 68 irrelevant since a pro se cannot recover subsequent fees, while statutes which provide for fee awards do so for only one side against the other.

    If a case filed by a pro se survives a motion to dismiss, they should be granted counsel. Alternatively, if they are not given counsel, and no attorney steps up to take the case, they should be allowed to hire a nonattorney "advocate" as is done with numerous types of cases that allow for nonattorney representation (such as social security, for example). One could even say that UPL legislation is as outdated as copyright, supported only by "legacy" attorneys protecting their undeserved income for taking cases that could easily be handled by nonlawyers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2019 @ 6:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: "Can't"?

    Wait, bad decisions made by someone in the news and that story was written about on this site ....

    or

    This site made decisions and they were bad ?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2019 @ 6:42am

    Re:

    lol - wut?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53. icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 31 May 2019 @ 8:29am

    Re: Re: Pure gold

    Sorry. If you want help fixing the deficiencies of that turd you filed, you'll have to properly pay for a lawyer to. (it'll cost you some extra hours, as his uncontrollable laughing fit will doubtless also be on the clock.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54. icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 31 May 2019 @ 8:29am

    Re:

    [Asserts claims void of fact or logic]

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2019 @ 8:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yeah, about that...

    Continue "not caring" about this website, Jon boi!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2019 @ 8:32am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yes, I am so devastated since Ayyadurai failed to rape this site!

    Wait, that was you!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2019 @ 8:33am

    Re: Re: Re:

    So... no, then.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2019 @ 8:33am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Nobody cares about pro se litigation. So why are you so concerned?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2019 @ 8:34am

    Re:

    Incidentally, putting up a word salad and hoping nobody notices the logic bombs you make is generally not a great strategy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2019 @ 8:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yeah, about that...

    Keep up those fighting words, Jhon!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 31 May 2019 @ 8:43am

    Anyone who thinks anyone could "lose their shit" over a site so minor in its relevance, is the one who has probably lost it.

    And yet, here you are, losing your shit over “a site so minor in its relevance”.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 31 May 2019 @ 8:44am

    There is a vague argument in there that Section 230 violates the Due Process Clause

    There is a similar, much stronger argument about due process and the DMCA takedown system. How about we go through that one first?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 31 May 2019 @ 8:48am

    Question: If Section 230 is repealed and third-party UGC on the Internet goes away, where will you post your rants?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64. identicon
    TFG, 31 May 2019 @ 8:51am

    Re: Re:

    Just plant a flag and move on down the road.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2019 @ 10:09am

    Re:

    Oh SNAP!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66. icon
    Dan (profile), 31 May 2019 @ 10:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: "Can't"?

    The former. Specifically (though I recognize implicitly) court decisions.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67. icon
    Dan (profile), 31 May 2019 @ 10:39am

    Re:

    Nancy Pelosi is the one who just got a crash course in Section 230 immunity, and she's got the power to nuke it.

    The Speaker of the House can unilaterally pass legislation? Maybe you want to revisit your High School U.S. Government class.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68. icon
    Dan (profile), 31 May 2019 @ 10:57am

    Re:

    Other constitutional violations against pro ses involve the award of attorney fees to a represented party against a pro se who cannot collect fees.

    Which provision(s), of which constitution(s), does this violate? Awards of attorney fees are intended to cover the expenses incurred by that party. Why should a pro se litigant be reimbursed for costs he didn't incur? Court costs can, of course, be awarded to either party.

    they should be granted counsel.

    Why? If a law license is as meaningless as you suggest, why do they need a lawyer? Why can't they competently handle the case on their own? And ffs, why should I pay for their lawyer?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2019 @ 12:07pm

    Re: Re:

    I think that the post you replied to is the other way around -- the pro se filed a dumpster fire with the court, and now is on the hook for not only their own costs, but the court costs and attorney's fees of the other side. (I wonder how this works in "loser pays" land north-of-the-border, even?)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 May 2019 @ 12:38pm

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  71. icon
    jonr (profile), 31 May 2019 @ 2:18pm

    Re: Actual comment

    Which, I would note, is 100% accurate: Someone did say that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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