Section 230 Protects Zillow for Publishing Property Information–Choudhuri v. Specialized Loan

This lawsuit relates to a property foreclosure contested by the then-property owner, Choudhuri, who sued pro se. “Choudhuri appears to allege that Zillow ‘illegally’ published information regarding the property at issue on its website, including listing it ‘for auction.'” This leads to an easy Section 230 dismissal.

ICS Provider. I cleaned up this quote–most of this is language quoted from the complaint: “Zillow operates an online database of real estate properties. Its website states that it is reimagining the traditional rules of real estate to make it easier than ever to move from one home to the next. Zillow clearly meets the definition of an internet service provider.” I cried a little seeing the court use the phrase “internet service provider” instead of the statutory term “provider of interactive computer services.” As I’ve mentioned before on the blog, I ban my students from using the term “ISP.”

Claim for Publishing Third-Party Content.

it appears that Choudhuri seeks to hold Zillow liable for posting “auction notices” of her property on its website…it seems that her claims are directed against Zillow in its capacity as a publisher or speaker of the auction notices. However, Choudhuri has not demonstrated—nor does the Court believe that Choudhuri could demonstrate—that the auction notices on Zillow’s website stemmed from “content development or creation” by Zillow

The court concludes:

to the extent that Choudhuri seeks to hold Zillow liable for posting auction notices on its website, the Court finds that these claims fall squarely within the purview of Section 230 and are barred as a matter of law

This case bears some resemblance to the uncited 924 Bel Air v. Zillow case, which also involved Zillow’s publication of incorrect property information. I’m always intrigued by the intersection of Section 230 and real estate law. It certainly wasn’t covered in my 1L Property course LOL.

Case citation: Choudhuri v. Specialized Loan Servicing, 2024 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 14432 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 26, 2024)

Prior blog posts about Zillow