SALTZ MONGELUZZI & BENDESKY P.C. FILED A LANDMARK FEDERAL COMPLAINT TODAY AGAINST TIKTOK AND BYTEDANCE FOR PROVIDING 10-YEAR-OLD NYLAH ANDERSON A TARGETED, DEADLY "BLACKOUT CHALLENGE" CHOKING VIDEO THAT ALLEGEDLY CAUSED HER DEATH
Saltz Mongeluzzi & Bendesky seeking justice for Nylah and social media safeguards for others
PHILADELPHIA, May 12, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Social media-injury attorneys and Internet safety advocates at Saltz Mongeluzzi & Bendesky P.C. today filed what is believed to be the first Federal wrongful death and products liability/negligence lawsuit against TikTok and ByteDance. The lawsuits seeks to hold TikTok and ByteDance accountable for the "Blackout Challenge" choking death of 10-year-old Nylah Anderson on December 12, 2021. The precious, family and fun-loving suburban Philadelphia child was the innocent victim of an "addictive, intentionally manipulative app and algorithm" designed and supplied by the defendants who prioritized profits over child health and safety, according to the six-count complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Attorney Robert J. Mongeluzzi, of SMB, said he and his team filed the action (Anderson v. TikTok et al. 2:22-cv-01849) on behalf of Tawainna Anderson, Nylah's mother, and the child's estate, to hold the two California-based social media defendants accountable for their dangerously defective product and negligent actions that caused Nylah's death. "Nylah should be alive today; her death was entirely preventable. These defendants clearly knew that children could die from dangerous and deadly videos such as the Blackout Challenge because of widely reported similar child deaths caused by the TikTok Blackout Challenge. Rather than doing everything they could to prevent the spread of these dangerous challenge videos to their child users, their algorithm intentionally directed these dangerous videos to them. The evidence will establish that they exposed children to danger for one goal- to maximize their revenue."
Jeffrey P. Goodman, partner at SMB, added, "Social media superpowers like TikTok have seized the opportunity presented by the 'digital Wild West' to manipulate and ontrol the behavior of vulnerable children to maximize revenue and profits. This industry has neglected its safety responsibilities for too long. It is time for social media giants like TikTok to make social media safe and protect our children."
Mr. Mongeluzzi and Mr. Goodman said, "TikTok and ByteDance have a legal duty to supply safe products, provide proper instructions and, in Nylah's case, protect her from harm. The defendants fatally failed to take the simple step of screening dangerous content from getting to a 10-year-old. Instead, they forwarded Nylah the dangerous content that ultimately killed her."
Nylah's mother, following the filing, said, "She was a butterfly in our life, so full of happiness and love. Nylah was my child but she could have been anyone's son or daughter that is attracted to what they see on social media. I know she's looking down and encouraging me to do all I can to protect others. We can't let what happened to Nylah happen again. Her full statement from today's press conference is posted at A Mother's Remembrance
SMB attorneys Rayna Voz McCarthy and Samuel B. Dordick are also representing the plaintiffs, along with the cyber/social media lawyers Mark DiCello, David Straite and Amy Keller from DiCello Levitt Gutzler.
NOTE: Numerous resources are available to parents, guardians and others looking for information and assistance regarding social-media use and abuse. Many are listed at www.MakeSocialMediaSafe.com.
For more than 25 years, SMB has been recognized as a preeminent mass-casualty, personal injury law firm and safety advocate representing catastrophically injured individuals; its clients have included hundreds of victims of construction disasters, medical malpractice, transportation tragedies, nursing home negligence, sexual abuse – on and off campus -, social media predatory practices and products liability. SMB is one of the lead plaintiffs' counsel in the Surfside high-rise condominium collapse near Miami that resulted in 98 deaths; that litigation settled yesterday for approximately $1.1 billion.
About DiCello Levitt Gutzler
DiCello Levitt Gutzler is one of the world's leading firms representing a wide range of victims catastrophically injured through the misuse and abuse of technology. Its clients include plaintiffs affected by large data breaches and wrongful use of their private information; it was named "Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Practice Group of the Year" by Law360 for 2020 and 2021, and its renowned Privacy, Technology, and Cybersecurity group has led or is leading several of the world's largest data privacy class action lawsuits. The firm has been a pioneer and leader in class actions aimed at protecting consumer privacy, and has successfully argued or is currently litigating landmark cases against Facebook, Google, and Apple.
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SOURCE Saltz Mongeluzzi & Bendesky P.C.
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