EFF and a coalition of public interest groups and law professors have asked a California appeals court to protect craiglist from a lawsuit that could spur websites to be less helpful in responding to complaints about user behavior.
In Scott P. v. craigslist Inc. the plaintiff complained about a series of craiglist ads he said were written by impersonators. While craigslist removed the ads within minutes of his phone calls the plaintiff sued contending that craigslist broke a promise to "take care of it" when the impersonators posted additional ads. In cases like these federal law -- specifically Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act -- shields Internet forums like craigslist from liability. Section 230 was designed to encourage parties to pursue action against those who created the questionable content instead of the platform that hosted it. But the California Superior Court has ruled that this case can continue because of the plaintiff's allegations that craiglist said it would help.
Craiglist filed a writ petition with the Court of Appeal for the State of California arguing that the trial court should have dismissed the case because of Section 230's protections for forum hosts. In an amicus letter filed in support of craigslist EFF argues that the lower court reasoning could create a hole in Section 230 discouraging forum owners from helping users.