Appeals Court Tells Serial Litigant Runescape Didn't Violate His Constitutional Rights By Muting His Account

from the need-an-actual-grievance-if-you-want-any-of-that-sweet-redress dept

Last summer, a federal court tossed a lawsuit by Amro Elansari brought against the makers of Runescape for muting his account. Elansari seemingly has nothing better to do than file lawsuits -- none of which appear have any merit. As a taster of Elansari's serial litigation, here's the opening of the Third Circuit Appeals Court's rejection of his proposed class action against Tinder.

In July 2019, Elansari filed a pro se complaint in the District Court against Tinder, Inc. He indicated that the events underlying the complaint arose over the course of nine months (January through July of 2018, and April and May of 2019). He alleged, without more, that Tinder’s dating application “sends you notifications saying 7 people like you[,] subscribe $15 [per month] to see who [they are.] [Screen shots show that] [t]hey’re all fake 3000 miles away[.]” (Compl. 3.) Elansari wrote “class action” at the bottom of one of the complaint’s pages, (id.), and he sought compensatory and punitive damages.

It takes more than a handwritten "class action" to move a suit like this forward. It also takes an actual member of the bar to pursue a class action over Tinder doing Tinder stuff, which Elansari is not. Elansari does not appear to have even a layman's grasp of the law either, which prompted this rejection of his Runescape lawsuit:

[Elansari] cannot state a constitutional claim against a private company precluding him [from] amending to assert a federal question.

Also in the pro se mix was the fact that Jagex, the company behind Runescape, is located in the UK, which made his Constitutional violation claims even more ridiculous.

Elansari also appears to have enough free time to appeal every federal court rejection, which means the Third Circuit Court of Appeals gets to swat away this lawsuit as well. (h/t Polygon)

Elansari argued his muting by Runescape harmed him immeasurably (by which I mean he did not specify the dollar amount of the perceived damages). He claimed his position as a "streamer + 2000 hours + invested" entitled him to some federal relief due to all the due process he lost when Runescape refused to unmute him.

The Appeals Court is no more welcoming of Elansari's lawsuit than the lower court. If Elansari wants to argue about due process, he needs to find something that actually involves due process. From the decision [PDF]:

On appeal, Elansari first argues that the District Court should have adjudicated, and granted relief on, a Fourteenth Amendment claim. See Appellant’s Br. at p. 6-7. However, state action is a prerequisite for bringing a Fourteenth Amendment claim, and Elansari has made no allegations indicating that any named defendant is a state actor.

His other argument -- that he was discriminated against by Runescape moderators -- is no better. In fact, it's almost Klayman-esque in its absurdity.

Next, citing Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Elansari maintains that the District Court should have identified and considered a claim of public accommodations discrimination in Elansari’s complaint. See Appellant’s Br. at p. 4, 7, 9. Elansari insists that defendant Jagex should be liable for “unequal treatment” because Elansari’s account was “muted . . . compared to all other players who are not muted.”

I guess "moderated" is the new protected class. Let's see if some alt-right figurehead can't take this inherently-rejectable claim and run with it. Anyway, this is an obvious non-starter. Federal law doesn't consider "muted gamer" a protected class.

Even generously construing Elansari’s complaint to raise a claim of public accommodations discrimination and assuming that Elansari can bring such a claim in this context, at no point either in the District Court or on appeal has Elansari alleged losing access to Jagex’s online game due to discrimination based on any of the grounds protected by Title II.

To add up both rejections of Elansari's lawsuit is to bring tears to the eyes of people who think suing hard enough will get their permabans lifted at various social media outlets.

First, private companies cannot violate Constitutional rights. Second, simply being moderated against isn't the basis for a discrimination lawsuit. The plaintiff needs to show they were banned/muted because of who they are, not because of what they've done. And protected classes don't include "conservative," "liberal," or, in this case, "streamer + 2000 hours + invested." Bans and mutings may feel oppressive, but that's subjective, not an objective basis for lawsuit.

Filed Under: amro elansari, cda 230, moderation, muting, runescape, section 230, trolls


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