JPML Asked to Consolidate Facebook and Instagram Teen Usage Product Liability Suits

On Wednesday, a plaintiff in one of the recently-filed product liability actions against Meta Platforms Inc. and its subsidiaries, including Instagram LLC (collectively, Meta), asked the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) to transfer more than two-dozen similar actions to the Northern District of Illinois or the Western District of Missouri. 

The motion explains that a slew of product liability complaints have flooded the court system over Meta’s deficiently designed and operated social media platforms. As previously reported, the cases, some which also blame the TikTok and Snapchat platforms, allege that Meta’s products are intentionally designed to be addictive. 

They assert that Meta accomplishes this using sophisticated algorithms to maximize user time and engagement as well as the company’s bottom line. However, the defendant reportedly does so without regard to users’ age and despite “the recognized dangers associated with the use of such features on social media products.”

The social media platform’s own research, partly brought to light by a former Facebook employee and whistleblower, shows its awareness of the disproportionate negative mental health impact its products have on youth, especially adolescent females. 

The suits state negligence, misrepresentation, fraud, unjust enrichment, breach of warranty, and infliction of emotional distress claims against Meta. To date, 28 actions are currently pending in 17 different districts throughout the country, the filing notes.

The motion seeks to create a multidistrict litigation, arguing that centralization will “help eliminate inconsistent rulings, curtail duplicative discovery, and conserve judicial resources.”

It suggests transferring the matters to Judge Sara L. Ellis, of the Northern District of Illinois, or alternatively Judge Stephen R. Bough of the Western District of Missouri for coordinated or consolidated pretrial proceedings. The proposed caption is In Re: Social Media Adolescent Addiction/Personal Injury Product Liability Litigation.

The movant-plaintiff is represented by Beasley Allen Crow Methvin Portis & Miles LLC.