Never Mind

I suppose it shows my age to talk about the early days of Saturday Night Live. Those days were more than 35 years ago. But one of my favorite bits from those days was Gilda Radner’s Emily Litella appearances on Weekend Update. She’d rant and rave about subjects like “violins on television” or “making Puerto Rico a steak” only to be corrected, to which she would reply simply, “never mind.” The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals had an Emily Litella moment recently when it decided a case involving a Web service called The Court’s decision was the second time it looked at the service. is a service that allows users to find roommates. In order to utilize the service, users were required to complete a form listing preferences. The form gave users the ability to select potential roommates on the basis of sexual orientation. Fair Housing Councils in San Fernando Valley and San Diego brought suit against roommates, contending that the service violated state and federal fair housing laws. Initially argued that it was immune from the suit based on section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. That Act says that an interactive computer service provider is not the publisher of content supplied by a third party. The Ninth Circuit’s original opinion rejected that defense, finding that was responsible for the content because it required responses to the questions it created. So the case returned to the trial court. But now, in its most recent decision, the Ninth Circuit decided that while the Fair Housing Act prohibits landlords, it doesn’t cover decisions one prospective roommate makes about who to room with. So is off the hook. And that earlier decision? Never mind.