The influence of large technology companies on our lives is hard to overstate. Consumer data is harvested on a vast scale by social media platforms—and often packaged and resold with no regard for individuals’ privacy. Credit, insurance, and health care decisions are made by hidden algorithms, which may be trained on biased data sets and lead to discriminatory outcomes. Social media apps have rewired how young people think and behave, contributing to a national youth mental health crisis.
Motley Rice is at the forefront of protecting individual rights against unfair and abusive conduct by technology and media companies. In addition to seeking redress for past harms, we are monitoring disruptive innovations—ranging from cryptocurrency to generative artificial intelligence—that, if not deployed responsibly, could cause harm in the near future.
Our Approach to Technology & Media Litigation
Motley Rice believes mass actions are critical to police abusive conduct by Big Tech. Our experience with individual cases, federal multidistrict litigation (MDLs), class actions, opt out cases and public client representation gives us experience using a variety of litigation tools to achieve change at scale. In addition to pursuing our own clients’ matters, we also assist a network of valued co-counsel by providing technical and legal support on complex technology-related matters.
Our Technology & Media Team
As one of the largest plaintiffs’ litigation firms in the United States, Motley Rice has the professional experience and financial resources to investigate, litigate and resolve complex technology and media cases in the U.S. court system on behalf of clients residing virtually anywhere in the world. Motley Rice attorneys represent dozens of children and families in personal injury lawsuits against some of the world’s largest technology companies, including Meta, Google and Snap.
Attorney Previn Warren, a former law clerk to the Honorable Merrick B. Garland and a former enforcement attorney at the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, helps lead our technology and media team. He has led multiple litigation and trial teams in cases that reinforced protections for musicians in the face of rapidly evolving technology—generating hundreds of millions of dollars in additional royalties for artists. He is co-lead of a MDL against the owners of social media products including Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat. Plaintiffs in the MDL allege these platforms are defective because they encourage addictive behavior in adolescents and result in various emotional and physical harms, including death. Previn also successfully defended the rights of artists against media conglomerates as sizable as Sirius XM and iHeartMedia.
As with all Motley Rice areas of practice, our teams include numerous members with varied experiences. A few highlights include, our team also includes attorney Andrew Arnold, who brings to his technology-related practice eight years of experience working as a software developer; attorney Jessica Carroll who spent nearly a decade in the tech sector working for both an IaaS and automated digital advertising and merchandising company; Jodi Westbrook Flowers who represents data breach victims, including Facebook users alleging the company violated their privacy by allowing Cambridge Analytica to harvest their information; Marlon Kimpson who serves as co-lead in litigation against the country’s largest provider of non-profit software; attorney Abigail Burman, who has experience in technology and health care and dozens of paraprofessionals and support staff. We pursue cases by conducting our own extensive research, thoroughly analyzing government investigations by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and interfacing with cutting-edge investigative tech journalists and tech accountability nonprofits.
Our Experience in Technology & Media Litigation
Our attorneys have litigated diverse and complex matters against technology and media companies that are accused of preying on the public.
SOCIAL MEDIA ADDICTION LITIGATION
At the forefront of litigation that aspires to make Instagram and other social media platforms safer for children and their families, Motley Rice has filed multiple cases in California’s Superior Court and Previn Warren is co-lead counsel in the national MDL, In re Social Media Adolescent Addiction/Personal Injury Products Liability Litigation, case no. 4:22-md-03047. Plaintiffs allege Instagram and its parent company, Meta Platforms, exploited the insecurities of children to maximize profits and user growth by using algorithms that were designed to addict children and teens to the product. Read more about Motley Rice’s litigation for impacted families.
UNFAIR USE OF CREATIVE CONTENT
Previn Warren is active in litigation related to the music industry, including representing SESAC in negotiations and arbitrations with licensees such as the Radio Music Licensing Committee (RMLC). His prior experience includes leading multiple litigation and trial teams in cases that sought to reinforce protections for musicians in the face of rapidly evolving technology. He represented SoundExchange, a digital performance rights nonprofit, and achieved a substantial increase in the royalty revenues that musicians will receive from internet radio services. He also secured a significant victory for copyright owner plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit against a hip-hop website, establishing a landmark precedent concerning infringement in the era of streaming. In other matters, he helped recover $150 million in underpaid royalties for plaintiffs and was a key player in a rate-setting trial in 2017 that achieved the largest-ever increase in the royalty rate owed by Sirius XM.
VIOLATIONS OF CONSUMER PRIVACY
Motley Rice has filed a putative class action case against Meta for allegedly intercepting the sensitive, legally protected health information of consumers who do not even have Facebook accounts. These consumers thought that they were confidentially seeking medical care, only to have Meta act as the digital equivalent of an ear pressed against the door of a doctor’s exam room or therapist’s office.
This case builds on our attorneys’ years of experience in data breach lawsuits. Motley Rice has filed litigation involving multiple cybersecurity breaches that left millions of victims susceptible to identity theft, including over the massive Equifax data breach that affected 143 million Americans in 2017, and for Marriott and Starwood hotel guests affected by a series of data breaches over the course of several years that potentially exposed passport information and other personal data for up to 500 million customers. Attorney Marlon Kimpson serves as co-lead counsel in the Blackbaud MDL, which alleges the company released plaintiffs’ sensitive data to criminals in a ransomware attack, compromising the private information of millions of people worldwide.
Additionally, attorney Jodi Westbrook Flowers served as co-liaison counsel of the 21st Century Oncology data breach Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee overseeing litigation filed for patients who allege their medical records were exposed by the company due to a lack of security. The case resulted in a $12.5 million settlement in 2021.
DECEPTIVE DISCLOSURE BY TECHNOLOGY COMPANIES
Motley Rice, as lead counsel, negotiated an $809.5 million settlement in 2021 to resolve securities fraud litigation against Twitter, Inc. and two of the company’s former senior executives. The settlement came days before what would have been a rare securities fraud class action jury trial. Shareholders alleged the social media giant misrepresented its daily user growth in 2015 to inflate its stock price. The resulting settlement ranked first in the Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) 2022 Securities Class Action Services Top 50 report.