June 14, 2024

Munger, Tolles & Olson Secures Significant Defense Win in Nationwide Social Media Litigation

Munger, Tolles & Olson secured a major defense win for Snap when a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled that four public school districts cannot proceed with lawsuits claiming that social media companies’ allegedly addictive platforms disrupted their educational goals. The win received a “Runner-Up” recognition in The American Lawyer’s Litigator of the Week column.

Hundreds of school districts from around the country have sued Meta, YouTube, TikTok and Snap in federal and state court, alleging that, by causing social media addiction and harming teens, the companies also cause harm to the school districts. The majority of these cases — covering 617 school districts from 34 states — have filed as part of a consolidated litigation in California state court. These lawsuits have attracted national attention and mark the first time that theories of negligence and public nuisance have been used by school districts against technology companies. MTO’s defense win calls into question over 600 lawsuits and will have a significant impact on these cases moving forward.

Sustaining a demurrer filed by MTO and co-counsel, Judge Carolyn Kuhl ruled that the school districts could not recover for the indirect effects of the companies’ alleged negligence on their students. “To expand the common law in order to provide a remedy for those who are indirectly affected by the negative consequences of social media for youth would create a broad web of indeterminate liability that the common law has heretofore refused to impose,” Judge Kuhl said.

The MTO defense team includes Jonathan Blavin, Rose Ehler, Lauren Bell, Victoria Degtyareva, Faye Paul Teller, Laura López, Ariel Teshuva, Garrett Solberg and Ariella Park.

MTO’s defense win garnered media coverage in Bloomberg, Law360, Law.com and many other publications.