Gossip site wins appeal of cheerleader's lawsuit

CINCINNATI - An appeals court has found that an Arizona-based gossip website should have been immune from being sued by a former Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader over online posts that she was promiscuous and had sexually transmitted diseases.

The decision from the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reverses a federal Kentucky judge's decision allowing the lawsuit to proceed.

Former Bengals cheerleader Sarah Jones sued thedirty.com owner Nik Richie in 2012 over anonymously submitted posts about her.

A jury found the posts were substantially false and that Richie had acted with malice or reckless disregard by allowing them to be published. Jones was awarded $338,000.

Jones' attorney says he'll likely appeal.

Internet giants like Google and Facebook have watched the case closely, saying the result had the potential to chill online speech.

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