Roskowski v. Corvallis Police Officers’ Association

DATE: Filed October 10, 2007.

COURT: United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit. Before Fernandez, Silverman and Graber, Circuit Judges. Graber filed separate opinion concurring in part and dissenting in part. Court directs that the disposition is not appropriate for publication and is not precedent except as provided by 9th Cir. R. 36-3.

PLAINTIFF: Pamela Roskowski

DEFENDANTS: Corvallis Police Officers’ Association (“CPOA”), International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 223

MATERIAL ALLEGATIONS: Pamela Roskowski is a former police chief of Corvallis, Oregon. The subject website “allowed, if not encouraged, the public to post messages about Plaintiff. The website was advertised in the local newspaper and was intended to be used as a public forum for discussion about Plaintiff and her service as chief of police.”

“The information complained about is the anonymous e-mails critical of Plaintiff’s performance as chief of police that were made available through the website. Defendants claim that each of these e-mails was posted directly to the website by the anonymous author and that Defendants had no control over who posted or what was posted on the website. Plaintiff has offered no evidence to the contrary. All of the e-mails presented to the court were addressed to the mayor, members of the Corvallis city council and/or radio talk show host Lars Larson and were written by individuals under fictitious names. There is no evidence that the e-mails were forwarded to Defendants prior to being posted to the website or that Defendants had any control over the information contained in the e-mails that were posted on the website. The information complained about by Plaintiff was provided solely by an information content provider other than Defendants.”

CAUSES OF ACTION: Roskowski claimed that the defendants published numerous false and defamatory statements (“unverified” anonymous e-mail) on a website created by CPOA. Claims included libel, false light, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY: Magistrate Judge Donald C. Ashmanskas of U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon concluded that “[p]laintiff is clearly treating Defendants as publishers or speakers of the information. Defendants qualify for protection under [Section 230] and can not be held liable for any defamatory information posted by others on its website.” District Judge Anna J. Brown adopted Magistrate Ashmanskas’ Findings and Recommendation and granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants.


OUTCOME: Citing Section 230 and several Ninth Circuit decisions, the panel ruled that Roskowski did not demonstrate that CPOA itself made the subject postings, thus, “she cannot hold CPOA liable for the content of the postings.”

See my post on the opinion here.


One thought on “Roskowski v. Corvallis Police Officers’ Association

  1. Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. This crazy chief headed the UCSF police department in 2002, on the valid concerns of then a police officers union who voted unanimously against her coming to take helm of an oragnization she failed at in Corvalis. 15 years and a department which walked on eggshells, her tirrades of insanity to assert her authority over all of her staff and illegal shams of hiding money, the department voted her out from the department. Everywhere she went, she made enemies with the people who worked for her. We are glad she’s gone, although we wished we had the moxy of corvallis pd to ship her out sooner. Too bad.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s