July 12, 2006 -- How would you like it if a Web site posted false information about you, for example, that you have a sexually transmitted disease or that you pay for sex?
That's exactly what Todd Hollis, 38, claims happened to him on a Web site called DontDateHimGirl.com
Hollis, a criminal defense lawyer from Pittsburgh, stated his case on ABC News Now's "Guilt or Innocence?" Hollis said he got a phone call from the mother of his son telling him some nasty things had been posted about him on DontDateHimGirl.com.
That's when Hollis logged on to the site and read things like, "Todd 'Chocolate Attorney' Hollis: This jerk gave me herpes. ... He tried to pay me to have sex after we broke up, what a jerk. ... Beware girlfriends. He is no chocolate but rather poo-poo."
Hollis says he contacted the site's owner, Tasha Joseph, an entrepreneur in Miami Beach, to ask that the postings about him be removed. Hollis says Joseph wouldn't take them down, so he decided to sue the site. "I felt like I had no other choice."
Hollis is suing DontDateHimGirl.com for defamation of character. He says the libelous postings are untrue and are damaging his reputation.
At Fault: Ex-Girlfriends? Or Web Site?
The lawyer for DontDateHimGirl.com, Lida Rodriguez Taseff, also appeared on "Guilt or Innocence?" Taseff said the site is protected from defamation suits under the Communication Decency Act of 1996, which upholds free speech
"Under the Communications Decency Act, the Internet service provider of the Web site itself is protected against a lawsuit, precisely because Hollis has recourse against the people who he says defamed him," says Taseff.
But Hollis, well versed in law himself, disagrees, saying the Web site violates the Communications Decency Act.
"The Web site owner should be responsible," Hollis says. "The information is positioned in such a way that it's unfair to men. The Web site allows women to be anonymous but it identifies the men."
Hollis is suing the women who posted the comments and the Web site.
"The Constitution gives most people the right to privacy. Any medical information that is introduced is protected," Hollis says. "So if you have an STD, whether it's true or not, you're still entitled to your privacy."
Service or Slander?
DontDateHimGirl.com launched one year ago as a free, searchable database of men, complete with warnings from their ex-girlfriends or ex-wives. When the site launched, critics said the site could come under fire for libel.
Now a site has been launched to get Joseph's site banned. It's called Classaction-dontDateHimGirl.com.
But Joseph's lawyer says DontDateHimGirl.com is no different from any other site on the Web that provides information. Taseff says the Web site gives people the "perfect platform" to disclose whatever information they see fit.
"If you hold the Internet service provider liable for what third parties do then you are basically requiring the Internet service provider to check and verify everything that was asserted in that posting. We're not going to do it. AOL is not going to do it. Google is not going to do it," says Taseff. "You'd be asking these Internet service providers to be the police officers of truth."
Hollis says some people have advised him to just let the waters cool, let what he claims are "rumors" die naturally, but Hollis is determined to state his case to the public.
"I'm hoping to make every man and woman know that what happened to me is not germane to me," Hollis says. "There's a possibility that information could be posted about you on the Web site."