AutoAdmit message board lawsuit

by Walter Olson on June 15, 2007

The controversy over bathroom-graffiti postings at the law student site Autoadmit/xoxohth.com (May 3, May 20) has now developed into litigation:

two [unnamed] female Yale Law School students have sued Anthony Ciolli, the Web site’s former “chief educational director,” and more than two dozen others who allegedly used pseudonyms and posted the students’ photos as well as defamatory and threatening remarks about them on the online law-school discussion forum.

(Amir Efrati, WSJ Law Blog, Jun. 12). Lawprofs David N. Rosen (Yale) and Mark A. Lemley (Stanford) are assisting the plaintiffs, and Rosen told the WSJ Law Blog in an interview that the case was about “bringing the right to protect yourself against offensive words and images into the 21st century,” calling the postings “the scummiest kind of sexually offensive tripe.” Discussion: Eugene Volokh, Ann Althouse , Glenn Reynolds, David Lat, Patterico.

{ 5 comments }

1 Ted 06.15.07 at 10:23 am

Glenn Reynolds had the best line: “Stuff that offends dumb hicks in the heartland is constitutionally protected. Stuff that offends Yale Law Students must be stamped out!”

2 Lincoln 06.15.07 at 1:26 pm

I was under the impression that the women were also being stalked as well because of AutoAdmit’s threads on them, and if not the AutoAdmit members were certainly encouraging it (they would describe the defendant’s attire, when she had been to the gym, while other members would encourage taking snapshots using camera phones, etc.)

That’s just too creepy for me. If I had seen something like this on a board I was moderating I would have shut down the threads and banned the offenders. It might not rise to the level of a legitimate cause of action for a lawsuit, but it does reveal a complete lack of common decency on the part of AutoAdmit’s administrators. These weren’t merely offensive threads: they encouraged criminal behavior and inflicted a sense of paranoia and distress that you’re being watched (and photographed) wherever you go.

3 Dick 06.16.07 at 10:58 am

I would agree with Lincoln if the students were in any other school but Law. I thought “a complete lack of common decency” was a first year class in law school.

4 Lincoln 06.16.07 at 6:57 pm

I thought “a complete lack of common decency” was a first year class in law school.

It is, only it’s usually called Civ Pro.

5 Deoxy 06.18.07 at 11:11 am

“I thought “a complete lack of common decency” was a first year class in law school.”

I thought that was a requirement to even be admitted in the first place.

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