Monday, January 15, 2007

Update on Craigslist litigation

Here’s an update on the Craigslist litigation filed nearly one year ago here in Chicago that I first commented on last November. Plaintiff Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights under Law (“CLC”) alleged in its complaint that Craigslist had violated the Fair Housing Act (“FHA”) when various discriminatory housing ads appeared on Craigslist, having been submitted by users of the online service. After Judge St. Eve ruled last year in favor of Craigslist on its motion for judgment on the pleadings, CLC filed a motion to alter/amend judgment. CLC sought to convince the court that Craigslist had ‘printed’ the objectionable ads and, thus, was liable under the FHA. Section 230 immunity (commonly referred to as the Communications Decency Act) typically only applies in instances where plaintiff seeks to treat the defendant as a publisher (thus CLC’s adherence to the ‘print’ prohibition contained in the FHA). The court was not persuaded by CLC’s interpretation of the ‘to print’ phrase, and last week, “[f]inding that CLC has not presented any valid basis for relief,” denied CLC’s motion.

Just one day after the court ruled, CLC submitted its notice of appeal, indicating it will seek an appeal of both rulings before the Seventh Circuit. Stay tuned.


  1. Your update is timely.

    It's tragic to see the CLC wasting its resources on a suit that has no merit and in which the law is so clearly against its position.

    It's ironic that you're posting on this on MLK Jr day, which ought to remind us that there are still so many very real problems the CLC could and should be addressing.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Joe.

    Although scheduled in advance of these developments, on January 12 (just a few days after Judge St. Eve denied the motion to alter judgment and CLC submitted its notice of appeal) Ms. Laurie Wardell of the CLC discussed the case with the Chicago Bar Association's Civil Rights & Constitutional Law Committee. Unfortunately I was unable to attend the luncheon, and don't know whether the recent ruling and/or appeal was covered.

    Perhaps someone that did attend can post some comments on Ms. Wardell's remarks.