Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Bo Does Jurisdiction: No Illinois Jurisdiction over California Web Site Defaming Bo Jackson

A district court judge in Illinois in Jackson v. California Newspapers Partnership, Slip Copy, 2005 WL 2850116 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 27, 2005), has held that a Web site that allegedly defamed former ball player Bo Jackson, an Illinois resident, cannot be sued in Illinois because of its passivity vis-a-vis that state. Although the site was deemed to be interactive for California residents, Illinois residents were not privy to the same site privileges. Thus, under Zippo Manufacturing Co. v. Zippo Dot Com. Inc., 952 F.Supp. 1119 (W.D.Pa.1997) the court held that a passive Web site could not support jurisdiction. The court also considered application of Calder v. Jones, 465 U.S. 783, 104 S.Ct. 1482 (1984), but concluded that because the Web site was not targeted at Illinois residents, did not use Illinois sources, and the brunt of Jackson's harm was felt nationwide rather than in Illinois in particular, the case was distinguishable from Calder.


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