U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald has rejected Snap Inc.’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit that was filed after a deadly car accident.
The lawsuit was filed by the parents of two teenage boys who died after they were involved in a high-speed crash while using Snapchat.
The boys were allegedly using the Snapchat “Speed Filter,” a controversial app that posts a user’s current speed on photos and gives users rewards and trophies.
According to the lawsuit, the boys were using the Speed Filter while driving in May 2017, reaching speeds up to 123 m.p.h. before hitting a tree going approximately 113 m.p.h. All three boys died in the crash.
Snap fought the lawsuit by claiming immunity under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which shields social media companies from liability for user-posted content.
However, U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald with the Ninth Circuit disagreed, ruling that the Speed Filter was a feature of the app — not user-posted content.
Judge Fitzgerald wrote:
There is realistically no purpose for the Speed Filter other than to encourage users to travel at high speeds and record themselves doing so. It is common sense that adding a speed-sharing feature to a social media application used predominantly by minors and young adults would encourage such users to record themselves while driving at high speeds.”
The lawsuit is Lemmon et al. v. Snap Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California — Case Number 2:19-cv-04504.