Section 230 Once Again Immunizes Google’s Search Results–Metroka v. PA Law Enforcement

In June 2022, Nadia Metroka (a Florida lawyer, apparently) was arrested in Pennsylvania. “Information about the arrest was published on the Montgomery County Crimewatch website, and it was ‘picked up by GOOGLE’s search engine.'” (Is this the news release in question?) Metroka sued Google pro se for the search results. The court easily dismisses per Section 230:

  • ICS Provider. Numerous courts have held Google is one.
  • Publisher/Speaker Claims. The plaintiff alleged that Google published the search results.
  • Third-Party Content. The “information in the Crimewatch post was created by the Lower Moreland Township Police Department, not by Google.”

The court summarizes: “Google has immunity from her state law claims, as it cannot be held liable for search engine results showing a third party’s statement.”

Courts have sometimes struggled with mugshot cases, but the courts are decisive when it comes to Google search results: Google isn’t liable for presenting third-party content in its search results. This court repeatedly cites the Kabbaj case. Some other cases applying Section 230 to search results include:

Maughan v. Google Technology, Inc., 143 Cal. App. 4th 1242 (Cal. App. Ct. 2006); Murawski v. Pataki, 514 F. Supp. 2d 577 (S.D.N.Y. 2007); Shah v. MyLife.Com, Inc., 2012 WL 4863696 (D. Or. 2012); Merritt v. Lexis Nexis, 2012 WL 6725882 (E.D. Mich. 2012); Nieman v. Versuslaw, Inc., 2012 WL 3201931 (C.D. Ill. 2012); Getachew v. Google, Inc., 491 Fed. Appx. 923 (10th Cir. 2012); Mmubango v. Google, Inc., 2013 WL 664231 (E.D. Pa. 2013); O’Kroley v. Fastcase Inc., 831 F.3d 352 (6th Cir. 2016); Fakhrian v. Google Inc., 2016 WL 1650705 (Cal. App. Ct. 2016); Despot v. Baltimore Life Insurance Co., 2016 WL 4148085 (W.D. Pa. 2016); Manchanda v. Google, Inc., 2016 WL 6806250 (S.D.N.Y. 2016); Mosha v. Yandex Inc., 2019 WL 5595037 (S.D.N.Y. 2019); White v. Discovery Communications LLC, 2023 WL 3335417 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. May 10, 2023)

Case citation: Metroka v. Pennsylvania State Law Enforcement, 2023 WL 3767745 (E.D. Pa. June 1, 2023)