Carrie Goldberg, attorney to Matthew Herrick, the plaintiff who sought to hold Grindr responsible for harassment on its platform, has lashed out on Twitter following the news that the Supreme Court will not hear her client’s case.
In lower courts, Grindr was found not liable for fake profiles created by Herrick’s ex-boyfriend. The profiles were used to send men to the plaintiff’s home address for sex, potentially setting him up for assualt.
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act was pivotal in the ruling, as it absolves Grindr of responsibility for problematic user-generated content.
Eric Goldman, a Section 230 legal scholar and blogger, tweeted after the decision: “It’s not the least bit surprising, but today SCOTUS denied cert in Herrick v Grindr, a significant #Sec230 defense-favorable ruling.”
Goldberg responded: “Sure would be a shame if somebody misused a dating app to send men to this guy’s home as happened 1200+ times to our client, Matthew.”
The tweet received criticism on techdirt.com, an insight-focused tech blog that often covers issues relating to free speech.
Legal blogger Scott Greenfield also weighed in, writing in post titled Cert Denied, Attack the Messenger: “It’s understandable that a lawyer, particularly a lawyer for whom professional detachment is a struggle, would be disappointed to learn that certiorari was denied. Indeed, not only was this bad for the plaintiff (…), but for the larger war against Section 230 that persists in preventing hegemony of the internet. It hurts to lose.
“But Goldberg’s reaction to Goldman’s twit appears to be a call to make him suffer the same harm that her client suffered, to implore some unduly passionate nutjob to e-personate Goldman so that he should become the target that Herrick was at the hands of his ex-boyfriend.”
Greenfield called the tweet “inexcusable” and said it raised a “serious question” about professional conduct.
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