YouTube (Again) Defeats Lawsuit Over Content Removal–Lewis v. Google

Lewis ran a YouTube channel, “Misandry Today.” (Misandry = hatred of men). He claims YouTube removed or demonetized some of his videos. The district court rejected his lawsuit. In a short unpublished memo opinion that basically echoes the district court’s analysis, the Ninth Circuit does too.

Constitutional Challenge Against Section 230. Lewis didn’t have standing to challenge Section 230’s constitutionality because any “injury” he suffered did not relate to Section 230. YouTube took its action as a private actor, not a state actor; and Section 230 provides an immunity from suit, not a cause of action.

First Amendment Violations. YouTube is not a state actor (cite to PragerU v. Google).

Title II of Civil Rights Act. “YouTube’s websites are not a ‘place of public accommodation.’…To conclude Google or YouTube were places of public accommodation under Title II ‘would obfuscate the term ‘place’ and render nugatory the examples Congress provides to illuminate the meaning of that term.'”

Lanham Act False Advertising. Lewis lacked standing because he sued as a consumer, not a competitor.

Fraud by Omission. Lewis didn’t allege any duty to disclose that YouTube failed to honor. Plus, “YouTube disclosed that it reviews flagged content to determine whether it violates the Community Guidelines, which in turn prohibit ‘Hateful content.’ YouTube’s monetization policies elaborate that ‘Hateful content’ is ineligible for monetization.”

Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing. YouTube’s contract expressly gave it the right to act, which eliminates any overlapping implied claim.

Tortious Interference. Lewis didn’t allege that YouTube knew of any affected third party.

What a bogus lawsuit. Maybe Lewis will find a more enthusiastic reception on Parler. Plaintiff’s counsel was Andrew Martin of Martin and Peters PLLC. 💯 

Case citation: Lewis v. Google LLC, 2021 WL 1423118 (9th Cir. April 15, 2021)

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