Legal Law

Intercourse trafficking lawsuit in opposition to Craigslist goes forward – ML vs. Craigslist


In April, a judge issued a staggering ruling that Craigslist may be sued for sexual trafficking, that Section 230 does not support Craigslist's motion for dismissal, and that the statute of limitations may not apply despite the facts in question in 2008 or earlier. Craigslist denied the judge's report but made no progress with the supervisory judge.

Section 230

Craigslist pushed back on plaintiffs 'claims that Craigslist was involved in creating or developing the sex traffickers' ads. The court says the following allegations were sufficient to survive Craigslist's motion for dismissal:

Her complaint alleges numerous allegations regarding craigslist's involvement in developing or creating advertisements for dealing with plaintiffs – more so than the plaintiffs in Chicago Lawyers or Dart. The plaintiff alleges that traffickers developed the advertising in conjunction with craigslist's rules and guidelines. The plaintiff also alleges that the traffickers pay a fee for craigslist to allow the advertisements to be displayed in the adult services section of the website. Plaintiff alleges that Craigslist facilitated and assisted traffickers and buyers through its communications system, which enabled anonymous communication and evasion of law enforcement agencies. Through craigslist's unique system, plaintiff alleges that craigslist facilitated its trading and brought financial benefits. In addition, the plaintiff alleges that it was craigslist's policy to blur and crop images in the "adult services" section of the site and that traffickers used this policy to facilitate and encourage the plaintiff's human trafficking. These allegations go beyond the mere allegation that Craigslist contributed significantly to the plaintiff's human trafficking through an "Adult Services" section. Rather, the plaintiff is claiming specific measures taken by craigslist that made its trading easier.

Everyone agrees that Craigslist accepts paid advertising. Is the court saying that such services generally do not qualify for Section 230? After all, what other “concrete, concrete measures” has Craigslist taken to facilitate the plaintiff's human trafficking? A reminder of what Doe v, LLC, 817 F.3d 12, 22 (Cir. 1, 2016) said on this point: “(C) claims that a website treats illegal behavior through its posting rules the website necessarily as a publisher or spokesperson for content provided by third parties and therefore excluded from section 230 (c) (1). "

The FOSTA claims of the plaintiff are treated equally according to § 230:

The court agrees with craigslist's argument that FOSTA does not create an exception (section 230) for any claim under section 1595. For the same reasons discussed in the preceding section on plaintiff's state legal claims, CDA immunity for plaintiff's TVPRA claim is currently not guaranteed under federal law. Plaintiff has asserted reasonable facts regarding craigslist's development or creation of the advertisements that traded on plaintiff.

The court did not address the discussion of Section 230 by the JB v Craigslist judgment which found Craigslist to qualify for Section 230 against allegations of sex trafficking.

1595 claim

Craigslist said it lacks the required scientist about the plaintiff's situation. The court now recognizes and approves the JB case, specifically his suggestion that constructive knowledge meet the requirements of the 1595 scientists:

The plaintiff alleged that craigslist knew that sex trafficking was advertised on its website and that craigslist benefited financially by charging for advertising in its adult services area. At that point, the applicant has produced enough facts to determine that Craigslist plausibly had constructive knowledge of their human trafficking. Plaintiff need not claim that craigslist was specifically aware of their trafficking in human beings or the specific identity of Plaintiff, but that craigslist knowingly had a business relationship with traffickers to facilitate the venture of trafficking with Plaintiff. Here, Plaintiff alleged that Craigslist knew that human traffickers were using the Adult Services section of its website, and that Craigslist received a financial benefit from its human traffickers by purchasing ads in the Adult Services section. As a result, Plaintiff has sufficiently alleged that Craigslist had constructive knowledge of their human trafficking

Again, the court could imply that any ad-supported venue could potentially meet academic standards when it comes to showing ads by sex traffickers.

Although Craigslist made no real progress on this ruling, the District Court judge reiterates that plaintiff can only claim damages for activity claim of 1595, if any, between December 23, 2008 and December 31, 2008. Between the statute of limitations and the likelihood that 1595's behavior was outside that window, this case can look significantly different if the court answers these questions in a summary judgment.

Case quote: M.L. v. Craigslist, 2020 WL 5494903 (W.D. Wash. September 11, 2020)

More articles on SESTA / FOSTA:

* § 230 prevents another FOSTA claim – Doe v. Kik
* Section 230 protects Craigslist from sex trafficking claims despite FOSTA – JB against Craigslist
* Facebook still can't dismiss victims of sex trafficking in Texas State Court
* Craigslist Denies Section 230 Immunity for 2008 Classified Ads – ML vs. Craigslist
* 2H 2019 and Q1 2020 Quick Links, Part 3 (FOSTA / Backpage)
* New paper explains how FOSTA devastated male sex workers
* FOSTA Constitutional Challenge Revived – Woodhull Freedom Foundation versus USA
* New FOSTA Civil Lawsuits Advance Expansive Legal Theories Against Unexpected Defendants (Guest Blog Post)
* Section 230 helps Salesforce resolve the sex trafficking lawsuit against Doe v. Defeat Salesforce
* Latest link wrap to the episodes of FOSTA
* Section 230 does not end lawsuit alleging Facebook facilitated sex trafficking – Doe v. Facebook
* New essay: The Complicated History of FOSTA and Section 230
* Who has benefited from FOSTA? (Spoiler: Probably nobody)
* FOSTA's political curse
* FOSTA does not help Pro Se Litigant's claim to defamation against Facebook
* Constitutional challenge for FOSTA rejected due to lack of status (guest blog post)
* An update on the Constitutional Court Challenge to FOSTA – Woodhull Freedom v USA (guest blog post)
* Indianapolis Police have recently been blinded for closing the backpage.
* Constitutional Challenge vs. FOSTA Filed – Woodhull vs. US (guest blog post)
* Keep FOSTA up to date since its inception (A Linkwrap)
* Further episodes of the "worst of both worlds FOSTA"
* "The Worst of Both Worlds" FOSTA signed the law and completed section 230 evisceration
* Backpage loses another section 230 Motion (again without SESTA / FOSTA) – Florida Abolitionists v. Backpage
* District Court decision highlights Congress's rush to be the worst of both worlds FOSTA – Doe 1 BC Backpage
* More on the unconstitutional retroactive effect of "Worst of Both Worlds FOSTA" (guest blog post)
* Senate passes "Worst of Both Worlds FOSTA" (Linkwrap)
* Why FOSTA's restriction on prostitution subsidies violates the first change (guest blog post)
* SESTA sponsors still do not understand section 230 (as they are about to eviscerate it).
* Can the "worst of both worlds FOSTA" be saved? Maybe … and you can help (URGENT call to action)
* Congress is likely to ruin section 230 this week (SESTA / FOSTA updates)
* What's new at SESTA / FOSTA (edition of January 17, 2018)
* New House Bill (replacing FOSTA) has a more promising approach to regulating the online sex trade
* My testimony on the House Energy & Commerce Committee: Balancing Section 230 and Anti-Sex Trafficking Initiatives
* How SESTA undermines the provisions of Section 230 on the Good Samaritan
* The manager change for SESTA slightly improves an even more terrible calculation
* Another human trafficking expert raises concerns about SESTA (guest blog post)
* Another SESTA Linkwrap (week of October 30th)
* Latest SESTA developments (A Linkwrap)
* Section 230 applies to "inconsistent" state laws (guest blog post)
* A rundown of Congress's upcoming sex trafficking laws (guest blog post)
* The busts of the DOJ from MyRedbook & Rentboy show how the backpage can be prosecuted (guest blog post)
* Problems with the retroactive delivery of SESTA (guest blog post)
* My Senate testimony on SESTA + SESTA Hearing Linkwrap
* Debunking Some Myths About Section 230 And Sex Trafficking (Guest Blog Post)
* Congress is about to ruin its online free speech (cross-post) masterpiece
* Executives on the back face money laundering fees despite Section 230 – Persons against Ferrer
* How Section 230 Helps (and SESTA Would Harm Victims of Sex Trafficking) (Guest Blog Post)
* Senator Portman says SESTA will not interfere with the Good Samaritan's defense. He's wrong
* Senate Act “Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers of 2017” – and Section 230's upcoming evisceration
* The 2017 Bill “Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking” would be bad news for Section 230
* WARNING: The No Immunity Against Sex Traffickers On The Internet Bill poses a major threat to Section 230
* The Effects of Exclusion from State Crimes in 47 United States. Section 230 Immunity



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