Barnes v. Yahoo!

NOTE: The information and commentary contained in this database entry are based on court filings and other informational sources that may contain unproven allegations made by the parties. The truthfulness and accuracy of such information is likely to be in dispute. Information contained in this entry is current as of the last event mentioned in the "Description" section below; additional proceedings might have taken place in this matter since this event.

Summary

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

05/24/2005

Status: 

Pending

Location: 

Oregon

Disposition: 

Dismissed (total)

Verdict or Settlement Amount: 

N/A
On May 24, 2005, Cecilia Barnes filed a lawsuit against Yahoo! for negligently failing to remove unauthorized profiles from its Yahoo! Profiles website.  The profiles were created by Barnes' ex-boyfriend, and contained nude photos of Barnes and her work contact... read full description
Parties

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Yahoo!, Inc.

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Large Organization

Location of Party: 

  • Oregon

Location of Party: 

  • California

Legal Counsel: 

Jeffrey A. Johnson, Thomas W. Brown - Cosgrave Vergeer Kester, LLP; Patrick J. Carome, Samir Jain - Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr, LLP
Description

On May 24, 2005, Cecilia Barnes filed a lawsuit against Yahoo! for negligently failing to remove unauthorized profiles from its Yahoo! Profiles website.  The profiles were created by Barnes' ex-boyfriend, and contained nude photos of Barnes and her work contact information.  According to the complaint, on March 29, 2005, Yahoo! contacted Barnes and assured her that they would put an end to the unauthorized profiles.  However, the complaint alleges that she continued to be harrassed by strange men.  Barnes claims that when Yahoo! contacted her, they undertook an affirmative duty of care under Oregon law, and this duty was violated when they failed to remove the profiles and prohibit them from being posted again.

On June 23, 2005, Yahoo! removed the case from the Circuit Court of the State of Oregon for the District of Multnomah to the United States District Court for the District of Oregon.  On November 8, 2005, the district court granted Yahoo!'s motion to dismiss the case, finding that 47 U.S.C. §230 immunizes interactive service providers, such as Yahoo!, from liability for failure to screen or remove third-party content.  The Ninth Circuit heard oral arguments in the case on October 14, 2008.

Update:

05/07/2009 - The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed in part and reversed in part the district court's order dismissing the case.  The appellate court determined that Barnes' allegations might support a claim for promissory estoppel and held that section 230 would not preempt this claim.

05/21/09 - Yahoo! filed a petition for rehearing.  An amicus coalition consisting of Public  Citizen, the Center for Democracy and Technology, the Citizen Media Law Project, and EFF filed a motion for leave to file an amicus brief supporting Yahoo!'s petition.

06/22/09 - The Ninth Circuit amended its opinion to remove section II of the opinion and to revise footnote 4.  The court denied Yahoo!'s and Barnes' requests for rehearing or rehearing en banc.

12/08/09 - The district court denied Yahoo!'s motion to dismiss Barnes' promissory estoppel claim.

Details

Content Type: 

  • Photo
  • Text

Publication Medium: 

Social Network

Subject Area: 

  • Third-Party Content
  • Section 230
Court Information & Documents

Jurisdiction: 

  • Oregon

Source of Law: 

  • United States
  • Oregon

Court Name: 

The Circuit Court of the State of Oregon for the District of Multnomah; United States District Court for the District of Oregon; United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Court Type: 

Federal
State

Case Number: 

0505-05520 (Oregon Circuit Court); 6:05-cv-926 (Oregon Federal District Court); 05-36189 (Ninth Circuit)

Relevant Documents: 

CMLP Information (Private)

Priority: 

1-High

CMLP Notes: 

Couldn't locate Barnes' opposition to Yahoo's motion to dismiss on PACER or elsewhere online.  Seems not to be available in digital form for some reason.{Reed}

Source: David