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Ninth Circuit Rules Against Snapchat in CDA Decision

On May 4, 2021, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the District Court’s dismissal of the Plaintiffs’ complaint on the grounds of Snapchat’s immunity under the Communications Decency Act, 47 U.S.C. § 230(c)(1).  

Neff Injury Law and Bondurant, Mixson and Elmore filed suit against Snapchat on behalf of the surviving parents of boys who were killed in a high speed crash in Wisconsin.  The Complaint alleged that Snapchat had encouraged the boys to drive at dangerous speeds and caused the boys’ death by the negligent design of its “Speed Filter.”  The “Speed Filter” overlay’s a Snapchat user’s speed onto a “Snap” taken, and this can be shared on social media.

In the District Court, Snapchat argued that the Communications Decency Act (“CDA”) immunized the social media company from the Plaintiff’s claims.  The Ninth Circuit disagreed and found that “Snap is being sued for the predictable consequences of designing Snapchat in such a way that [] allegedly encourages dangerous behavior.  The CDA does not shield Snap from liability for such claims.”

Neff Injury Law and Bondurant, Mixson and Elmore look forward to moving the case forward and eventually proceeding with discovery.