A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of Grindr in a lawsuit brought by Matthew Herrick, whose ex-boyfriend posted fake profiles of him on the gay hookup app using names like “Raw Pig Bottom,” “Muscle daddy” and “Gang Bang Now!”.
The fake profiles resulted in more than 1,000 men coming to Herrick’s home and approaching him looking for sex, according to the lawsuit.
Reuters reports: ‘The 3-0 decision by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals against Matthew Herrick came in a closely watched case over how far the Communications Decency Act, a 1996 federal law meant to restrict pornography while allowing other speech online, should shield Internet-based companies from user abuses. The court rejected Herrick’s negligence and emotional distress claims for Grindr’s failure to edit or remove his former boyfriend’s offensive content.’
Courthouse News reports: ‘Grindr said it empathized with Herrick but celebrated its legal victory today nonetheless. “While we are sympathetic to the plaintiff’s situation, we are pleased that Grindr has been vindicated and that this matter was dismissed by the courts,” the company said in a statement. “Grindr has and always will be committed to creating a safe and secure environment to help our community connect and thrive.” As it did in District Court, Grindr persuaded the Second Circuit today that it is immune from liability under the Communications Decency Act. The law is more than 20 years old, but the Second Circuit rejected arguments from Ekeland that it needs an update.’
Herrick first sued in 2017 and a federal judge dismissed the suit a year later, at which time Herrick appealed. Herrick’s lawyer said he may asked the appeals court to rehear the case.