Twitter Defamation, Sec. 230 and the Dendrite Principles

From the skimpy facts this sounds like (1) some Twitter user posted something pretending to be Tony La Russa; (2) Tony La Russa sued Twitter; (3) Section 230 of the CDA will block the defamation (but not the IP) claims. That said, it's a little hard to imagine how a trademark claim would work here — where's the likelihood of confusion? — but again without seeing the offending text it's hard to say much. For example, it might be a suit against Twitter and John Doe, in order to get Doe's identity, and the TM claim is there to avoid jurisdictional issues.

La Russa sues Twitter over false page: Cards manager says reputation damaged by fake 'Tweets'

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa filed suit against the social networking internet site Twitter.com last month, claiming that a page on the site that falsely used his name caused him to suffer “significant emotional distress [and] damage to reputation,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Thursday.

La Russa is suing for trademark infringement, trademark dilution and misappropriation of name and likeness.

The website removed the false page shortly after the lawsuit was filed, the paper reported, and La Russa said Wednesday he thought the “issue was done.” He declined to elaborate.

The lawsuit includes a screenshot of the page and several “Tweets” associated with La Russa's name, two of which include distasteful references to Darryl Kile and Josh Hancock, Cardinals pitchers who died in 2002 and 2007.

If this is a John Doe case, does that make it the first against Twitter? Will the court apply the Dendrite test? I think it should.

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