Quirky 47 USC 230 Case Still Results in Defense Win–Coppage v. U-Haul

By Eric Goldman

Coppage v. U-Haul International, Inc., 2011 WL 519227 (SDNY Feb. 15, 2011)

The facts are garbled, but the plaintiff rented a vehicle from U-Haul and apparently suffered an injury he attributes to the vehicle. He also names Movinghelp.com as a defendant for unexplained reasons. Movinghelp describes itself: “We connect people with a reliable moving labor to do any of the following: packing help, unpacking help, loading help, unloading help, cleaning help and driving help.” It’s not clear from this opinion how the plaintiff used Movinghelp’s services or how those services contributed to the alleged injury.

However, the court doesn’t need to explore any of these details because it dismisses Movinghelp per 47 USC 230. The court’s entire 230 discussion:

the Court dismisses Plaintiff’s claims against Movinghelp, a website appears to that connect people with movers and posts information provided by local moving companies, under the Communications Decency Act, 47 U.S.C. § 230(c)(1) (“CDA”). See Doctor’s Assocs., Inc. v. QIP Holder LLC, No. 06 Civ. 1710, 2010 WL 669870, at *23 (D. Conn. Feb. 19, 2010) (“Courts engage in a three part inquiry when determining the availability of immunity under the CDA, i.e., (i) whether Defendant is a provider of an interactive computer service; (ii) if the postings at issue are information provided by another information content provider; and (iii) whether Plaintiff’s claims seek to treat Defendant as a publisher or speaker of third party content.”) Because Movinghelp appears to be a provider of an interactive computer service (Compl. ¶ 3), and the postings have included information provided by another information content provider, i.e., U-Haul (Compl. ¶ 10), and the Complaint treats Movinghelp as a publisher of third party content, the Court dismisses all claims against Movinghelp, see Doctor’s Assocs., Inc. v. QIP Holder LLC, 2010 WL 669870, at *23; (Compl. ¶ 14).

The citation to the Subway v. Quiznos case is odd for at least 2 reasons: it’s not in the same district (when there are numerous 230 cases in the SDNY), and unlike this case, that case was a 230 defense loss. Whatever. I’ll put this case in the category of Doe v. MySpace, which stands for the proposition that no matter what online third party communications were facilitated by the defendant, 230 says the defendant isn’t liable for any resulting offline injuries.

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