11 Apr Don’t Date Him Girl Suit Thrown Out on Jurisdictional Grounds
This is interesting from an internet jurisdiction perspective – but also as another reminder that there is no better way to make sure that lies about you are repeated, ad nauseum, than by filing a lawsuit over them. Nevertheless, this stuff is probably defamatory and the defamed individual certainly has a point. Some bitter ex girlfriend posted that he was unfaithful, has an STD, etc.
However, the Pennsylvania court held that since the Defendant didn’t have strong contacts to the forum state, the court could not exercise jurisdiction. This seems to follow a trend in internet jurisdiction cases in the libel context.
Here are a few other internet defamation cases that were eventually thrown out on jurisdictional grounds.
Lexington v. Siskind was decided similarly as was Dring v. Sullivan, 423 F. Supp. 2d 540 (D.Md. 2006) (argued by fellow First Amendment Lawyers’ Association member, Jonathan Katz).
Of course, internet jurisdiction cases in general are all over the place. But, it seems that courts recognize that when it comes to free speech rights, the rules are a little different. If you can drag someone in to court 3,000 miles from home for a defamation action, don’t you essentially automatically win? Sure, the defendant could prevail, however if courts broke from this trend, it would be terribly chilling. Fortunately, most courts seem to get this one right.