MDL Court Appoints Lead Counsel in Youth Consumers’ Social Media Product Liability Litigation

On Thursday, the Northern District of California court overseeing the class action against social media platform operators Meta Platforms, TikTok, Snap, and YouTube issued an order concerning case leadership and tentative next steps following a hearing on November 9. The multidistrict litigation accuses the defendants of encouraging addictive and harmful use of social media by adolescent users under product liability and tort causes of action.

Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers appointed Christopher Seeger of Seeger Weiss LLP, Lexi Hazam of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein LLP, and Previn Warren of Motley Rice LLC as co-lead counsel. Jennie Anderson of Andrus & Anderson LLP was appointed plaintiffs’ liaison counsel and Ashley Simonsen of Covington & Burling LLP as defendants’ liaison counsel. In addition, almost 20 other lawyers were appointed as plaintiffs’ steering committee leaders and members.  

The court’s order covered several other topics including the filing of a master complaint. In response to the defendants’ concerns about notice pleading, Judge Gonzalez Rogers noted that the plaintiffs are “the masters of their own complaint,” and must file a comprehensive pleading providing “facts concerning each individual defendant and that defendants’ purported liability.”

The court also said that the plaintiffs should tentatively plan to pick five or six of their best claims for an initial wave of dismissal motion practice. “If any claims survive a motion to dismiss, discovery will immediately begin as to those claims,” the order added.

The next status conference is set for December 14.

In a statement provided to Law Street Media, Chris Seeger commented on his appointment as lead counsel. “I am honored to have been chosen by Judge Gonzalez Rogers to lead this extremely consequential litigation. For years, Meta, Snap, TikTok, and YouTube deliberately designed and developed their platforms to addict children, precipitating a youth mental health crisis. I look forward to working with the leadership team to hold these social media companies accountable for inflicting widespread harm on our society’s most vulnerable members.”