“Worth The Hassel,” by Jim Snell and Nicola Menaldo, was published in Corporate Counsel regarding the case, Hassel v. Bird, in which the court of appeals decided to allow the plaintiff to use a default judgment against one party to obtain an order to compel a completely separate entity— online service provider Yelp — to remove from the Internet speech that the plaintiff did not like, without any notice to Yelp or an opportunity to be heard.

Over 50 amici, representing internet providers, academics, journalists and industry groups supported Yelp, Inc.’s petition for review in Hassell v. Bird. The California Supreme Court granted the petition and will now have an opportunity to address the proper balance the founders and Congress intended in three important areas: First, California law precludes the application of a judgment against a nonparty. Second, the First Amendment extends to providers rights to develop their own editorial policies, distribute communications, and curate content. Third, the CDA prohibits courts from treating any “provider … of an interactive computer service … as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another content provider” and also prohibits a “causes of action [to] be brought” or “liability [to] be imposed” that is inconsistent with the CDA. The California Supreme Court’s decision in Hassel will have important ramifications for the constitutional and statutory rights of hosts of user-generated content, and for the open marketplace of ideas on the Internet.