Scott P. v. Craigslist, Inc.

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: 

02/05/2010

Status: 

Pending

Location: 

California

Disposition: 

Material Removed

Verdict or Settlement Amount: 

N/A
In February 2010, Scott P., an unnamed plaintiff proceeding anonymously, filed a lawsuit against Craigslist and other defendants in California state court after his co-workers allegedly posted a series of Craiglist ads impersonating him. The complaint alleges that, in March... read full description
Parties

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

Craigslist, Inc.; Foster Dairy Farms; Foster Poultry Farms; Michael O. Simpson; Albert Carreno; Does 1 through 100

Type of Party: 

Individual

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization

Location of Party: 

  • California

Location of Party: 

  • California
  • Delaware

Legal Counsel: 

Elizabeth L. McDougall, Philip A. Leider, Liling Poh - Perkins Coie LLP
Description

In February 2010, Scott P., an unnamed plaintiff proceeding anonymously, filed a lawsuit against Craigslist and other defendants in California state court after his co-workers allegedly posted a series of Craiglist ads impersonating him.

The complaint alleges that, in March 2009, co-workers posted a series of ads on the "casual encounters" section of Craigslist pretending to be Scott P. looking for gay sex. Scott P. complained to Craigslist several times asking the site to remove the ads and to prevent future ads impersonating him.  According to the complaint, Craigslist staff removed the ads and assured him that they would "take care of it," which he understood as an undertaking to prevent further harassing posts. 

Despite these communications, a number of additional posts appeared in April 2009.  These ads gave Scott P.'s name, phone number and home address and "invit[ed] people to go to [Scott P.'s] home with friends to pick up large, heavy furniture and items for free or at very low prices." According to the complaint, approximately 50 to 60 people appeared at Scott P.'s home as a result of the ads and "entered onto his real property and demanded the free property advertised on . . . Craigslist."

Scott P. asserted a number of claims against his co-workers and employer over the fake ads, including defamation, false light, intrusion, publication of private facts, and discrimination. With respect to Craigslist, Scott P. asserted a claim for promissory estoppel, alleging that he reasonably relied on Craiglist promise that it would prevent future fraudulent postings in his name. (This may be the first case we've seen relying on Barnes v. Yahoo! to get around Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.) Scott P. also asserted a claim for "unfair competition" against Craigslist. 

In March, Scott P. dismissed his employer Foster Farms from the case.

Update:

5/3/2010 - Craigslist filed a demurrer to the complaint.

5/17/2010 - Scott P. filed a response

5/25/2010 - Craigslist filed a reply

6/2/2010 - The court held a hearing and overruled the demurrer on the promissory estoppel count, holding that the complaint "sufficiently pleaded an agreement supported by promissory estoppel." The court granted a temporary stay of discovery to allow Craigslist to file a writ of petition to the Court of Appeal. 

Details

Content Type: 

  • Text

Publication Medium: 

Forum

Subject Area: 

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

Jurisdiction: 

  • California

Source of Law: 

  • California

Court Name: 

Superior Court of the State of California, County of San Francisco

Court Type: 

State

Case Number: 

CGC-10-496687

Relevant Documents: