DEAR MEDIA: Just to be clear – nothing new happened today; the judge did not deny anything today nor did he make any new rulings. Rather, he previously denied our motion JMOL from the bench at trial in early July. What happened today was the judge issued an order explaining his view of the law in more detail. He was not required to do this and neither side asked him to do it. It is possible the judge did this as a way of responding to the widespread media coverage harshly criticizing his rulings on the Communications Decency Act.
If anything, the judge’s further explanation simply underscores his legal mistakes. Specifically, he said that CDA immunity only applied to websites which did not screen content (like Facebook). This could not be more wrong. It’s like saying water is not wet – it’s that wrong. No court anywhere in the country has ever agreed with Judge Bertelsman’s conclusion. On the contrary, every single court that has ever considered that issue has – without exception — ruled exactly the opposite way.
Its legal errors aside, this “order” is functionally meaningless. We filed our notice of appeal nearly a month ago. When a notice of appeal is filed, the lower court loses jurisdiction over the case. As such, the judge’s comments today have no value or bearing on any aspect of the case or the appeal.
Finally, the issues in the appeal are matters of law which are reviewed de novo (from scratch). So, Judge Bertelsman’s gratuitous comments today will play no role whatsoever in the appeal – they are entitled to no weight whatsoever, and I plan to give them none in our briefs.
David S. Gingras, Esq.
Gingras Law Office, PLLC