Fourth Circuit Affirms CDA Immunity For Consumer Review Website

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In December, citing the Communications Decency Act, 47 U.S.C. § 230 (the “CDA”), the Fourth Circuit upheld dismissal of defamation and related claims against a consumer review website featuring consumer posts regarding an automobile dealership. Nemet Chevrolet, Ltd. v. ConsumerAffairs.com, Inc., Case No. 08-2097 (4th Cir., December 29, 2009).

Nemet Chevrolet applies the heightened Rule 8 pleading standard recently articulated by the U.S. Supreme Court in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937 (2009), to reject allegations that ConsumerAffairs.com was responsible for the website posts. In addition, Nemet Chevrolet highlights that where a website operator does not encourage illegal content and confines its editorial activities to those of a traditional website operator, courts are more likely to accord it immunity from suit under the CDA.

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