Village Voice Media’s Teen Prostitution Lawsuit Dismissed

The lawsuit filed by a teenage runaway against Village Voice Media–claiming their online classifieds site, Backpage.com, knowingly enabled her underage prostitution–was dismissed by a federal judge Monday, reports St. Louis Today.

At the time the suit was filed, a spokesperson for VVM said the teenager’s attorney was a “trial lawyer looking for a payday” by “attempting to milk a tragedy.” VVM provided the IP address and credit card info of her pimp, Latasha Jewell McFarland, to the FBI. She was sentenced to 5 years in a federal prison in December.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Mummert ruled that the companies were protected by the Communications Decency Act, although the “plaintiff artfully and eloquently attempted to phrase her allegations to avoid its reach.”

“Those allegations, however, do not distinguish the complained-of actions of Backpage from any other website that posted content that led to an innocent person’s injury,” he ruled. “Congress has declared such websites to be immune from suits arising from such injuries. It is for Congress to change the policy that gave rise to such immunity.”