SAN FRANCISCO—Facebook Inc. won’t have to reargue a case brought by “country-rap” singer Mikel Knight, who sued the social media giant after it refused to pull down a page critical of the musician.
The California Supreme Court on Wednesday denied review in Cross v. Facebook, allowing a decision in August by a First Appellate District Court panel to stand. The panel ruled that Facebook’s anti-SLAPP motion striking the suit should be granted in its entirety, reversing the trial court.
The page that Facebook had refused to pull down was apparently created by victims of two tragic traffic accidents in 2014, both of which involved vans operated by Knight’s record label. The accidents led to two deaths and one serious injury, according to the appeals court decision.
Knight, whose real name is Jason Cross, had argued that Facebook had violated his “right to publicity” by running ads next to the page. The appellate court rejected those arguments, noting that the page was created by third parties and that the advertisements themselves did not use Knight’s name or likeness.
The trial court, by contrast, had allowed the publicity claims to survive Facebook’s anti-SLAPP motion. Digital rights advocates had feared that lower court decision would undermine the ad-driven business model of a whole host of internet companies.
Knight was represented in the litigation by Tennessee lawyer Todd Cole and Mark Punzalan in San Mateo. They did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment Wednesday evening.
Facebook was represented by Perkins Coie and Durie Tangri. The company did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.