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Update: Bizarre Lawsuit Dismissed

Back in September, under the heading Bizarre Lawsuit of the Day, we told you about the Pennsylvania man who had sued search giant Google for $5 billion, claiming in a handwritten complaint that when his Social Security number is turned upside down, "it is a scrambled code that does spell the name Google." Apparently confident of the strength of his lawsuit, the plaintiff asked the federal court "to issue a first check of $250,000.00 and a second check in the amount that remains."

As reported at the time on Techdirt blog, lawyer Eric Goldman provided the heads-up about the case. Now Goldman has an update. After plaintiff Dylan Jayne had his case dismissed sua sponte by the district court, he appealed to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Last week, the 3rd Circuit issued its ruling, concluding that Jayne's complaint, filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, must fail because Google is not a state actor.

To prevail on his § 1983 claim, Jayne must demonstrate that the named defendants acted under color of state law and deprived him of rights secured by the Constitution or federal law. ... It is clear that neither of these criteria is satisfied here. As explained by the District Court, Google and its founders are not state actors, and Jayne’s allegation concerning his coded social security number does not constitute a violation of the Constitution or federal law.

Adds Goldman: "This isn't the first time that Google has been declared not to be a state actor. See the district court KinderStart opinion.  But it's nice for Google to have a Third Circuit ruing validating it." One might add that, as to the case's outcome, the handwriting was on the wall from the outset.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on February 11, 2008 at 12:58 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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