CINCINATTI, Ohio - The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the Ohio District Court's dismissal of the ongoing John Doe Vs. SexSearch lawsuit.
The Court did not reach the issue of immunity under the Communications Decency Act, instead affirming on other grounds, based on failure to state a claim (a Rule 12-B6 motion).
Lead Counsel Gary Jay Kaufman of The Kaufman Law Group said, "This was a terrific victory for our clients. They stood their ground and defended themselves against this shakedown, rather than pay off like a slot machine, as so many companies out there do. Hopefully this sends the message to anyone contemplating a payday from our clients that they are in for a knock-down drag-out fight; we do not represent pushovers."
Kaufman Associate Trial Counsel Colin Hardacre told AVN Online that the bottom line is "online interactive computer services are not liable for third-party communication. That's exactly what John Doe tried to do. In the end, whether the courts affirm on one ground or another, basically the case is over, unless he decides to go to the Supreme Court and if he goes, bring it on."
The original lawsuit, filed by the unnamed plaintiff as John Doe in August 2007, accused SexSeach and other adult online companies of failing to verify the ages of their members. Doe said he was misled by a minor who claimed to be an adult member of SexSearch. After having what he called consensual sex with the girl at her home, he was detained by authorities and charged with several counts of unlawful conduct. Doe's lawsuit also alleged SexSearch, its executives and partners committed fraud and violated Ohio consumer laws and promoted sexual relations between children and adults.
Doe also attempted to freeze SexSearch assets, which was denied. Then this year, he took the case to the court of appeals, which led to the dismissal. The Sixth Circuit Court first heard the oral argument in late October as Kaufman Law argued against the assertion that a Jane Roe on the SexSearch site was a minor. Kaufman said the real reason John Doe brought the suit was "because he got caught."
Kaufman called the lawsuit "frivolous." He previously told AVN Online, "Only one person in the world had the responsibility to verify that girl's age and it was John Doe."
Speaking to AVN Online today, Hardacre added, "I think down the road, this issue's going to come up again and I think the district court's interpretation of the CDA is right on."