Friday, November 5, 2010

Federal Judge Tosses Md. Woman's 1st A. Facebook Suit

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...Image via CrunchBase
In Young v. Facebook (2010 WL 4269304 N.D. Cal. 10/25/10), U.S. District Court Judge for the Northern District of California Jeremy Fogel dismissed a Maryland woman's lawsuit against Facebook that alleged violation of her First Amendment rights, breach of contract, negligence and other common law claims.

Judge Fogel tossed Karen Beth Young's First Amendment count against Facebook because the social media monolith is not a government actor, notwithstanding the existence of  federal agencies' Facebook pages per contractual arrangement with the social network service. Young also alleged breach of contract, claiming Facebook didn't abide by its Statement of Rights and Responsibilities ("SRR") by failing to halt alleged online harassment of her, but Judge Fogel pointed to Facebook's express disclaimer in the SRR regarding monitoring the network's safety and noted the SRR did not create an affirmative contractual obligation by Facebook toward the plaintiff.

Depending on one's vantage point, Young was either the harasser or the harassed. She claims she was subjected to offensive comments and postings after she objected online to an anti-President Obama Facebook page that Facebook failed to halt. Facebook, however, banned her from the social network because of what it claimed was harassing behavior in which she allegedly engaged, such as attempting to friend people she did not know en masse.  At the time Facebook shut down her account, she purportedly had 4,300 friends on her personal page (certainly a deterrent to casual get-togethers with pals).

Young brought the suit pro se and allegedly twice drove from Maryland to Facebook's California  headquarters in unsuccessful attempts to get her account reactivated, so she apparently wasn't wanting for spare time.

Those interested in further claims Young alleged and Judge Fogel rejected should read Evan Brown's informative blog, Internet Cases (

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1 comment:

    Young v. Facebook, Inc.
    Currently pending in Santa Clara County, California
    Next court date set for March 18, 2011
    Case blog information available at -
    Also, write to