Thursday, January 17, 2019

Shooting victims argue on appeal to revive case against social media platforms

In a recent oral argument before the Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, attorneys for some victims and family members of those killed during the 2016 shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando argued that the court should reverse a lower court decision dismissing a complaint against Twitter and other social media platforms.

In the original lawsuit, the plaintiffs argued that but for the postings of a radical group using defendants’ social media platforms, the shooter would not have engaged in his attack on the Pulse nightclub.  They alleged Twitter, Google and Facebook knew their sites and platforms were being used by terrorist organizations to raise money and recruit new members, but did nothing to curb or end the activity.

The lower court judge, however, ruled in favor of the defendants and granted their motion to dismiss in March 2018.

You can read a summary of the argument here

I confess I have not been following this story and do not know the details of the allegations or the lower court opinion; but from what I can gather from the summary, it seems to me the plaintiffs will have a hard time winning the argument.  It is not easy to hold the media responsible for the criminal conduct of others who read or react to what is published in the media platforms.

Lawsuit Blames Sorority Hazing for Athlete's Suicide

I recently published a short article on two recent cases on whether universities have a "duty to help" students by preventing injuries caused by other students or by protecting students from injuring themselves (including by attempting to commit suicide).  You can read it here.

With this in mind, I found it interesting to read that FindLaw is reporting that the mother of a Northwestern University basketball player that took her own life in early 2017 has filed a lawsuit in the Northern District of Illinois court alleging that Jordan's sorority's hazing motivated her suicide.

I have not seen the complaint itself so I am not sure of the details, but from the stories I have read in the press, it appears the lawsuit is against the sorority and not against the University.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Supreme Court hears oral argument on FDA preemption claim

A couple of days ago, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the most recent case on whether claims against prescription drug manufacturers are preempted by FDA regulations.  The case is called Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp. v. Albrecht.

The SCotUS blog has a good short summary of the case here and an analysis of the oral argument here.