With the practice of trolling, the effort to evoke emotion over the Internet, becoming increasing common, courts are confronting the issue of long distance jurisdiction for conduct electronically crossing state lines. Now courts in some areas can punish tormenters engaged in trolling, JDSupra is reporting.
The decision came after an Illinois federal court ruled that a man who had engaged in a campaign of harassment over the phone and the Internet. In the case, Rusinowski v. village of Hillside, defendant Robert DiDomenico, a New York Resident, and Plaintiff Steve Rusinowski, an Illinois resident, were playing in an Internent role-laying game, Battlecam.com. DiDomenico then began a campaign of harassment against Rusinowski, the reasoning for which was not revealed in the case.
DiDomenico first had other people, presumably fellow gamers, send pizzas and cabs to Rusinowski’s home. The defendant then sent multiple men to the plaintiff’s home to have sex with him. DiDomenico also called local police, saying Rusinowski was on a webcam waving guns and threatening rape, murder and suicide.
When police arrived at Rusinowski’s home, they arrested him and had him involuntarily committed. After mental health workers concluded that he wasn’t a threat to himself or others, he filed the lawsuit for intentional infliction of emotional distress.
DiDomenico asked the court to dismiss the charge of emotional distress, for lack of jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(6). But the court concluded that sufficient contacts existed to justify the exercise of jurisdiction. The court added that Illinois had a strong interest in allowing its citizens to seek vindication for harm inflicted by out-of-town residents.
Written by: Karen Benardello