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Everytown Law Announces Significant Victory in Civil Lawsuits Arising From Buffalo Mass Shooting as Judge Denies YouTube’s, Reddit’s Motions to Dismiss 


After Historic Ruling, Lawsuit Seeking to Hold Social Media Defendants Accountable for Their Role in Radicalizing Mass Shooter Proceeds to Discovery

NEW YORK – Everytown Law, along with civil rights lawyers from the firms Bonner & Bonner and Ryder Law, today announced an important pretrial victory secured in their suits filed on behalf of 25 survivors of the racially motivated mass shooting at Tops Friendly Markets in Buffalo. In this first-of-its-kind ruling, a judge in the Erie County Supreme Court denied motions to dismiss filed by YouTube and Reddit, allowing lawsuits seeking to hold internet and social media defendants accountable for their role in radicalizing or equipping a mass shooter to proceed to discovery.

The court found that the plaintiffs sufficiently alleged that Reddit and YouTube are “products” that are specifically designed to addict and radicalize users, and that they provided the shooter with the equipment and training he needed to commit the deadly attack. The Court found that neither Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act nor the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects such behavior.  

“For too long, social media companies have skirted accountability by hiding behind Section 230, claiming immunity from liability for content they distribute,” said Eric Tirschwell, Executive Director of Everytown Law. “We will prove YouTube and Reddit addicted and radicalized the Tops Friendly Markets mass shooter who ultimately carried out one of the worst racist attacks in modern American history. We must hold accountable every single bad actor that prepared and equipped the shooter to target and kill members of Buffalo’s Black community.”

Significantly, the court also explicitly recognized that people who are traumatized by a mass shooting, even if they are not shot, can pursue claims against those responsible and seek to recover emotional damages in court.

The original complaint detailed the ways in which these defendants’ products radicalized the shooter and indoctrinated him into the racist great replacement theory and other white supremacist conspiracy theories that motivated his attack. It also detailed how the shooter learned through the defendants’ products how to acquire illegal assault weapons banned under New York law, how to easily convert the gun to function with removable magazines, and how to “win gunfights,” dispatch armed security, and kill more people with greater efficiency. 

Today’s victory comes just weeks after Everytown Law announced that the same judge denied motions to dismiss filed by Vintage Firearms and MEAN Arms, rejecting arguments that those defendants were protected by the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) and allowing the claims against them to proceed to discovery. Vintage Firearms is the gun store that sold the shooter the illegal assault weapon used in the deadly massacre and MEAN Arms manufactured an easy-to-remove lock that facilitated the shooter’s acquisition of an illegal assault weapon used in the deadly massacre.

More information about the lawsuits, including the court’s decisions, can be found here