Dimeo v. Max

DATE: Filed September 19, 2007

COURT: United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit. Before McKee and Ambro, Circuit Judges, and Michel, Chief Circuit Judge of the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, sitting by designation. Opinion by Michel. Opinion designated as “Non Precedential”.

PLAINTIFF: Anthony Dimeo III


INTERACTIVE COMPUTER SERVICE: “Max’s website is an interactive computer service because it enables computer access by multiple users to a computer server.”

MATERIAL ALLEGATIONS: “Max is the owner of a website (www.tuckermax.com) that allows users to write comments on various topics on message boards. DiMeo sued Max for defamation for publishing on the website allegedly disparaging statements about DiMeo stemming from a New Year’s Eve party in 2005 that had gone awry”

CAUSES OF ACTION: Defamation and violation of a criminal provision of the Communications Act of 1943.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY: On Appeal from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, District Judge Stewart Dalzell. Plaintiff appealed FRCP 12(b)(6) dismissal of complaint.


OUTCOME: “[T]he District Court properly concluded that 47 U.S.C. § 230 barred DiMeo’s claim for defamation.”

OPINION: DiMeo’s complaint alleges that Max is a publisher of the comments on the website. However, DiMeo does not allege that Max authored the comments on the website or that he is an information content provider. . . . As such, the website posts alleged in the complaint must constitute information furnished by third party information content providers. Therefore, the requirements of § 230 immunity are satisfied. In Green, we affirmed the dismissal of a complaint against America Online based on § 230 immunity from tort liability stemming from messages posted in chat rooms by unnamed defendants impersonating the plaintiff. Similarly, we will affirm the dismissal of the complaint against Max based on § 230 immunity from tort liability resulting from messages by third party message posters.”

See my post on the opinion here.