July 22, 2018

Archives for November 2, 2016

Tenth Circuit: Communications Decency Act Does Not Provide Immunity from Suit

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in General Steel Domestic Sales, L.L.C. v. Chumley on Tuesday, November 1, 2016.

General Steel employed Ethan Chumley until 2005, when he left to start his own company, Armstrong Steel. The two parties have had numerous legal disputes since then. Armstrong Steel initiated a negative online advertising campaign against General Steel, so that when internet users search for General Steel, negative advertisements from Armstrong Steel appear that redirect the internet user to Armstrong Steel’s web page entitled “Industry Related Legal Matters.” The web page contains 37 posts, 20 of which are at issue in this action. The 20 posts summarize, quote, and reference lawsuits involving General Steel, and contain selective snippets of court documents.

General Steel filed suit in district court with four claims: (1) unfair competition and unfair trade practices under the Lanham Act, (2) libel and libel per se, (3) intentional interference with prospective business advantage, and (4) civil conspiracy. Armstrong Steel sought summary judgment, claiming immunity from suit and liability under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA). The district court found that Armstrong Steel was entitled to immunity for three posts because they simply linked to third-party content. However, the court refused to extend CDA immunity to the other 17 posts and the internet search ads, finding that the defendants were not entitled to immunity because they created and developed the content by selectively quoting and summarizing the court documents in a deceiving way. Armstrong Steel appealed the district court’s denial of immunity and claims appellate jurisdiction under the collateral order doctrine.

The Tenth Circuit analyzed whether the CDA provided immunity from suit or simply immunity from liability. The Tenth Circuit noted that if the CDA provided immunity from suit, the appeal would be effectively unreviewable, but if it provided immunity from liability, the Tenth Circuit would lack jurisdiction because the order of the district court was not a final order. The CDA does not contain “an explicit statutory or constitutional guarantee that trial will not occur,” so it does not provide immunity from suit.

The Tenth Circuit dismissed the appeal.

Tenth Circuit Announces Inflationary Fee Increases

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals announced that, effective December 1, 2016, certain fees will be increased to account for inflation. The fee increases will affect the fee for conducting a search of the court of appeals and bankruptcy appellate panel records, which will increase from $30 to $31; the fee for reproducing recordings of proceedings, which will increase from $30 to $31; the fee for reproducing the record in any appeal in which the court of appeals does not require an appendix, which will increase from $83 to $86; the fee for original admission of attorney to practice, including a certificate of admission, which will increase from $176 to $181 (the current total admission fee for the Tenth Circuit Bar will remain the same at $225); and the fee for a duplicate certificate of admission or certificate of good standing, which will increase from $18 to $19.

Tenth Circuit: Unpublished Opinions, 11/1/2016

On Tuesday, November 1, 2016, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued three published opinions and four unpublished opinions.

United States v. Garcia-Rivas

United States v. McNeal

United States v. Akers

Paulsen v. Colvin

Case summaries are not provided for unpublished opinions. However, some published opinions are summarized and provided by Legal Connection.