Appeals attorney reviewing case
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A federal appeals court reversed the dismissal of a lawsuit accusing software provider Salesforce of violating sex-trafficking laws. The tech giant became ensnared in the suit due to its business involvement with, a notorious—and now defunct—website that served as an online portal for the sex trade. Shuttered in 2018, the sordid legacy of Backpage continues to linger as sex trafficking victims take aim at both the website and entities that facilitated its business model. Because of the Seventh Circuit’s reversal, Salesforce will now face allegations that it is liable for damages sustained by an underage girl, G.G., over an ad featured on the website of Salesforce’s client, Backpage. The panel majority, Judges David Hamilton and Doris Pryor, concluded that the plaintiffs were not required to show that Salesforce was specifically aware of Backpage advertisements that led to G.G.’s victimization but only that the software company knew or should have known that Backpage was earning significant profits from sex traffickers. Dissenting Judge Thomas Kirsch warned such an approach “would extend civil liability to nearly every company and individual who did regular and personalized business with Backpage after it faced public allegations of sex trafficking.” Indeed, based on the Seventh Circuit’s ruling in G.G. v., sex trafficking victims now have a substantial barrier removed in their quest to hold facilitators responsible for their damages.

About the Author
Christopher Keleher clerked for the Hon. William J. Bauer of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.  This unique opportunity provided Mr. Keleher with an invaluable understanding of the inner workings of an appellate court.  He saw what persuades judges and what does not, and utilizes this knowledge every time he writes an appellate brief. The Keleher Appellate Law Group handles all phases of appellate litigation in federal and state courts across the country. Read more here.