Allegations by the plaintiff in a defamation action that a Web site operator's employee said she would “take care” of having false and defamatory profiles removed from the site were sufficient to create an issue of fact precluding summary judgment on the plaintiff's promissory estoppel claim, the district court ruled. The court noted that according to the plaintiff, she had tried for months to have the defamatory profiles removed, and the employee said she would “take care” of having them removed after having been contacted by a news reporter interested in doing a story on the plaintiff's situation, but failed to do so. The court concluded that there was a “reasonable and plausible inference” that the plaintiff relied upon the employee's promise to her detriment when she contacted the reporter and headed off the news story, thereby delaying the removal of the defamatory profiles.

Barnes v. Yahoo!, Inc., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116274 (D. Ore. Dec. 8, 2009) Download PDF

Editor’s Note: The matter was remanded to the district court as a result of the appellate court ruling in Barnes v. Yahoo!, Inc., 570 F. 3d 1096 (9th Cir. 2009), holding that the plaintiff's promissory estoppel claim was not precluded by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. See further discussion of the district court opinion on the Proskauer New Media and Technology Law blog.