3 Alabama school districts file lawsuits against social media giants

Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 1:46 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - An Alabama law firm is among several that have filed lawsuits on behalf of three Alabama school districts against Meta (Facebook and Instagram), TikTok, YouTube and Snapchat.

Montgomery-based Beasley Allen is joining the law firms of Wagstaff & Cartmell, and Goza & Honnold in the suits, claiming a youth mental health crisis caused by the social media companies.

The lawsuits including the Baldwin County, Montgomery County, and Tuscaloosa City public school districts and are filed in the California state court Judicial Council Coordination Proceeding.

“The harm created by social media companies has strained already limited school resources as educators attempt to combat the widespread problems caused by social media addiction,” said Beasley Allen, attorney, and JCCP co-lead counsel Joseph VanZandt. “These lawsuits make it clear to social media companies that they will face consequences for their conduct not only from the adolescents they harmed but also from the people and institutions supporting our youth.”

Beasley Allen attorney Davis Vaughn agreed. “We must guide our youth through this mental health crisis. To do so, our schools need additional funding, personnel, training, and more. Beasley Allen attorneys and co-counsel Wagstaff Cartmell and Goza & Honnold seek to help these school districts get the resources they need from the companies that preyed upon our youth.”

The Alabama school districts are among the first to file these types of suits against social media companies. The complaints allege public nuisance and negligence claims under Alabama law. The three districts fall within the top 15 in Alabama based on student population, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

In 2022, Beasley Allen began filing social media lawsuits nationwide on behalf of adolescents harmed by social media addiction. The suits claimed that social media companies knowingly exploited young people for profit, employed addictive psychological tactics to increase the use of their products, and failed to protect young, vulnerable, and at-risk users. They further alleged that social media addiction causes harm, such as anxiety, depression, body dysmorphia, self-harm, and even suicide.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article has been updated to reflected an Alabama law firm is among those filing the suits. The other law firms are based in MIssouri and California.

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