Pantless Couponer Florida Woman’s Case Loses 11th Circuit Appeal

The 2016 incident made headlines on a news site: “Pantsless Coupon Arrested After Payment Dispute.”

ATLANTA – (Note: The video above this article is for a different coupon incident.)

A Florida woman who sued a website for calling her a “pantless cutter” after being arrested in an incident at Best Buy has now had both Federal District Court and 11th Court of Justice. ‘circuit call rule against it because the content was considered a newspaper article, or at least quite close to a.

According to his initial complaint, the incident happened in 2016 in central Florida.

The complaint details how it started with a dispute between the woman and a Best Buy employee over the use of a coupon, which escalated until the manager called 911 to have her evicted from the premises .

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During that call, the official said the woman was “showing him a **”.

This led to the headline on the near-news site “Pantsless Coupon Arrested After Payment Dispute.”

The website appears to be a mix of business news for the coupon and retail industry, as well as a resource for getting coupons.

It describes itself as a source of “daily news and information on coupons, grocery shopping and saving money.”

The Florida woman’s argument, according to the 11th Circuit ruling, boiled down to a claim that Coupons in the News was not a news website, but a “digital marketing tool known as Click funnel advertising designed and used only to promote the coupon business which is advertising. “

Marketing software company SharpSpring defines click funnels as web pages designed to take a web user or consumer “to a specific landing page for a product or service that your business is selling.”

The woman’s argument, in effect, was that Coupons in the News was not designed for actual news purposes, but to create content that would eventually lead people to buy something (presumably, using a coupon. ).

These distinctions between news and “sponsored content” style news can be obscure when the sponsored content is not clearly labeled as such. In 2015, the Federal Trade Commission issued guidelines on “native advertising,” that is, “content that has a similarity to news, feature articles, product reviews, entertainment, and so on. other material that surrounds it online ”.

In this case, the woman argued that “Pantsless Coupon Arrested After Payment Dispute” was essentially an advertisement designed “to go” viral “and gain traffic to (coupons in the news and the best purchases). “

The article “states that she” allegedly pulled down her pants “, thereby contemptuously ridiculing and maliciously dehumanizing the complainant on the Internet, nationally and globally,” according to the original complaint.

“Also, the article is contemptuous and taunts her and mocks her by repeatedly drawing attention to her pants like, ‘… she will have to go somewhere else to buy… preferably with her pants on.’ “… literally. Please. Keep your pants on. “The photograph is a large ID photo enlarged to almost half a page and the article includes advertising requests” … if you like this article, consider subscribing “”, a- he added.

The complaint further claimed that the lowering of the woman’s pants “did not occur”. (It seems possible that the manager’s 911 reference to “show him a **” wasn’t meant literally, but rather a reference to the colloquial term which essentially means embarrass you.)

But, in a ruling employing a deferential and expansive view of press protections, the 11th Circuit found that the story was “on the face of it … an article reporting (the) arrest. It is not an advertisement. It is not a commercial speech either. “

The Atlanta appeals court dismissed the woman’s complaint with bias. Cornell Law said such a ruling may mean the court has ruled that “the plaintiff acted irresponsibly or in bad faith.” This is a more final type of decision which means the woman cannot retry her lawsuit on other grounds or in another court – the action has been dismissed forever.

And, as such, “Pantless Couponer Arrested After Checkout Dispute” – which stays online – will remain active forever.

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