A plaintiff's allegation that an employee of an online service provider promised to "take care of" defamatory material is sufficient to state a cognizable promissory estoppel claim under California law that is not barred by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a state trial court judge ruled. The court concluded that a separate promise by a service provider to remove defamatory content "is not conduct of a publisher within the meaning of 230" and, therefore, it falls outside Section 230's prohibition on imposing liability on a service provider as the "publisher" of information provided by a third party. The court relied on the Ninth Circuit ruling in Barnes v. Yahoo! (9th Cir. 2009), commenting that while it was not bound by the ruling it was nevertheless "persuasive."

Scott P. v. Craigslist, Inc. (Cal. Super. Ct. San Francisco Cty June 2, 2010) (transcript of ruling) Download PDF

Editor’s Note: The Ninth Circuit ruling in Barnes v. Yahoo! is discussed on the Proskauer New Media and Technology Law blog.