AOL Inc. won dismissal of a suit by unpaid bloggers seeking $105 million for their work on the Huffington Post.
U.S. District Judge John Koeltl today threw out the suit, filed last April by writers seeking a share in AOL’s $315 million purchase of the news and opinion website run by Arianna Huffington. Koeltl said the bloggers submitted pieces to the Huffington Post for the exposure, knowing they wouldn’t be paid.
“No one forced the plaintiffs to give their work to The Huffington Post for publication and the plaintiffs candidly admit that they did not expect compensation,” Koeltl said in his opinion. “The principles of equity and good conscience do not justify giving the plaintiffs a piece of the purchase price when they never expected to be paid, repeatedly agreed to the same bargain, and went into the arrangement with eyes wide open.”
The lawsuit was filed by a group of writers led by Jonathan Tasini who were seeking to represent a class of about 9,000 unpaid Huffington Post bloggers. Koeltl rejected claims that AOL, an online publisher based in New York, unjustly enriched itself by using their work and that the company engaged in deceptive business practices.
Jeffrey Kurzon, a lawyer for the bloggers, declined to comment, saying he hadn’t seen the ruling.
The Huffington Post said in November that it had 35 million readers.
The case is Tasini v. AOL Inc., 11-2472, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan.)