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Reddit Subpoenaed In Wrongful Death Lawsuit 303

Posted by timothy
from the playing-the-blame-game dept.
redletterdave writes "In March, a 51-year-old Reddit user named 'Black Visions' wrote his last post on Reddit. He had been writing frequently about depression and suicide, but in his last post where he also threatened his own suicide, others decided to egg him on even further. That turned out to the be the last straw: Seattle news soon reported Jerry had jumped eight stories from a hotel room in the Double Tree in Tukwila, Washington. Reddit announced on Wednesday that the user's sister Sandy has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against nine Reddit users who egged him on, and Reddit has also been subpoenaed in identifying the information of another three individuals."
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Reddit Subpoenaed In Wrongful Death Lawsuit

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  • by TopSpin (753) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @01:39PM (#39660913) Journal

    ...any more illegal than...

    This isn't a criminal matter. 'Wrongful death' is civil law.

  • by Ryxxui (1108965) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @01:43PM (#39661007)
    The article cites a user-made post, not an official statement by reddit. Multiple people on reddit, including comments on the cited SubredditDrama post, have pointed out that there is no hard evidence that
    -Black Visions killed himself
    -Sister of Black Visions is actually Black Vision's sister
    -That there is any subpoena or legal action being pursued
    Get back to me after there's real evidence of any of those things.
  • by tpotus (1856224) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @01:45PM (#39661027)
    His final posts can be read on http://www.reddit.com/r/MensRights/comments/qoixk/a_lot_of_trolls_tonight/ [reddit.com] Looking through it I get the sense that people were trying to reach out and tried to persuade him from killing himself. TFA makes it sound as though everyone was cheering him on. Those few who trolled got severely downvoted. I can't see how reddit nor its users are in any way responsible for his death. Rather seems like his family is out to find a scapegoat. Where were they when he needed help and support?
  • by sjames (1099) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @02:22PM (#39661857) Homepage

    You caused /. to show square brackets and I don't like them. I'm suing you for emotional distress.

    Sadly, yes, I could actually do that. I couldn't win, but I could mis-appropriate the full weight of the U.S. Court system to force anyone to waste their own time and money responding or face arrest.

  • by Dahamma (304068) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @02:42PM (#39662285)

    Actually, no. It would be thrown out of court within minutes.

    Of course, you'd never get a lawyer to represent you since there is no money in it and they'd probably be sanctioned. And if you tried to represent yourself you could actually be fined, countersued, and even held in contempt of court for a frivolous lawsuit - which *is* a criminal offense...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frivolous_litigation [wikipedia.org]

  • by tattood (855883) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @03:08PM (#39662827)

    are you saying that Reddit's business model encourages people to egg others on to cause suicide, because it was in writing?

    No, I think he is saying that there is money to be made in suing those posters, as opposed to trying to sue someone who yells "jump" at someone on a building. It is easier to track down the commenters, than it would be to find the one person who egged on a jumper in a huge crowd of people.

  • Re:Poor guy. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Jack9 (11421) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @03:16PM (#39662961)

    > Putting people in prison because they are assholes hiding behind the anonymity of the internet is bullshit.

    Those are some strong words. That sentiment is also backward. The statements were knowingly made and potentially harmful. If a person can be prosecuted for sitting on a bench alongside another person (reddit or any open forum) then telling that person (who may be of limited capacity - minor, mentally handicapped or ignorant) to do something dangerous, this is simply an extension of existing societal controls. The bar for "fair" is set for the lowest common denominator. Welcome to the world.

    The initiative for responsible browsing and "not trusting the internet" has failed and there's nothing anyone can do about it. The last 5 years or so it's become pretty clear that the internet is a primary form of communication for a large and growing portion of humanity and people are not good at filtering. Maybe I live in a bizarro world. Deal with the culture or deny it. Won't change the reality.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 12, 2012 @04:21PM (#39664355)

    4chan keeps the ip addresses of everyone who posts, and they let the FBI know when something like this is happening, same with terrorism threats and people who post child pornography.

    I'm posting AC because I wear a pink tie.

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