In Cornelius v. Deluca, 2009 WL 2568044 (E.D. Mo. Aug. 18, 2009), the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri granted defendants' Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss on the grounds that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 barred the plaintiffs' civil conspiracy claim. Plaintiffs, who manufacture nutraceuticals, filed a state court lawsuit against a number of defendants, including the operator of the www.bodybuilding.com website (the "Website"), which arose from the posting of allegedly libelous statements about the plaintiffs and their products on the Website.
Plaintiffs alleged that the Website was a marketplace for the sale of nutraceuticals and contained public forums which permitted members of the public to post comments. Plaintiffs further alleged that the Website forums allowed representatives of competitors to post libelous statements regarding the plaintiffs and their products and that the defendants assisted in posting those false statements.
Although the plaintiffs contended that the moving defendants "conspired" with other defendants to "post or allow to be posted" the allegedly defamatory statements, they made no specific allegations as to how the moving defendants conspired with others to post the statements other than through operation of the Website's message board. Plaintiffs alleged that the movants "posted or allowed to be posted" the statements, they failed to attribute any statement to the moving defendants. Applying the pleading standard set forth in the Supreme Court's decision in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974 (2007), the Court found that "the complaint sets forth no facts that make it plausible that, given the CDA, the moving defendants could be held liable for the statements of others. As such, all three moving defendants are entitled to dismissal." Cornelius, 2009 WL 2568044, at *3.