Industry News

Chicago lawyers appeal decision in Craigslist complaint

Lawyers seek to apply Fair Housing Act compliance to Web site

A Chicago lawyers' group is appealing a court decision, which found that the online community listings site is not liable for discriminatory real estate listings posted by site users. The Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Inc., a nonprofit organization that advocates for fair-housing-law compliance and affordable housing, among other issues, filed an appeal Jan. 11 with the 7th U.S. Court of Appeals. In November, a U.S. District Court judge found that is an "interactive computer service" under the federal Communications Decency Act, and is not considered a publisher by law. There are Craigslist sites in about 450 cities and 50 countries, and the sites collectively gather about 5 billion page views each month. The case focused on whether Craigslist has violated the federal Fair Housing Act, which outlaws discriminatory statements in marketing properties for sale or rental, by allowing its users to post discriminatory content. Craigs...