Pittsburgh lawyer Todd Hollis is back in court with a second lawsuit against the dating advice site Don'tDateHimGirl.com, whose users accused him of infidelity and infecting women with herpes. Hollis had previously filed a defamation lawsuit in Pennsylvania state court against the owner of the site back in June 2006. The Florida-based web site and its owner Tasha Joseph were able to have that case dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction.
Acting as his own lawyer, Hollis filed a new complaint in federal court in Miami last week, alleging defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and false light invasion of privacy. Hollis told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that
he reluctantly sued again in Miami because Ms. Cunningham refused to remove the numerous lies that her Web site has published about him. "I never wanted to file a lawsuit. I wanted my name cleared," he said yesterday.
Tasha Cunningham, formerly known as Tasha Joseph, launched DontDateHimGirl.com two years ago. The site allows anonymous users to post information and photos of men, often accusing them of infidelity and bad behavior. Cunningham told the Post-Gazette that she would not answer questions about herself or the lawsuit, but gave the paper a written statement:
DontDateHimGirl.com's mission is to empower women with the information and connections that help them make better life decisions. DDHG.com is fully protected [from defamation lawsuits] by the Communication Decency Act. ... Any attack or lawsuit put forth regarding DDHG.com will be dealt with strongly, swiftly and in a manner which will seek to end this type of erroneous, wasteful litigation.
As we've noted in a number of past posts, section 230 of the Communications Decency Act grants immunity to website operators for these types of claims if the content is created by third-parties. It will be interesting to see how Hollis tries to get around this immunity.
You can follow the lawsuit's progress in our legal threats database.