Yesterday, 7th October, judges in the US ruled that Grindr user Matthew Herrick’s case against the app will not progress to the Supreme Court on appeal.
Herrick’s long-running legal battle began when his ex-boyfriend impersonated him online. The ex-partner used the gay dating platform to invite hundreds of men to Herrick’s address for sex.
Attorney Carrie Goldberg said in early 2019 that the fake profiles “were setting him up to be sexually assaulted.”
Herrick claimed the app should have done more to protect him in such a situation. Grindr argued that it was not liable for harassment between the two users, however, as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protects social apps from problematic user-generated content.
A Manhattan Federal judge found Grindr not liable in January 2018. The plaintiff went on to argue that the Communications Decency Act should not apply to Grindr, and that his claims should be instead considered as a products liability case challenging Grindr on safety grounds.
This was also dismissed by the courts. Moez Kaba, a lawyer for Grindr, said at the time: “No one disputes that the plaintiff’s situation was unfortunate, but the 2nd Circuit was plainly correct in finding that apps and their owners cannot be liable for this sort of third-party conduct.”
Herrick eventually sought to bring his case against Grindr before the US Supreme Court. The move came as Section 230 began to receive increased media scrutiny, and the suit could have impacted the entire social media industry if the GBTQ app was found culpable.
The latest decision means that the case will not be heard, and that it is now likely settled in Grindr’s favour.
Read more here.