Snapchat may be liable for speed filter used by teen before crash, Georgia Supreme Court says
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Snapchat may be liable for negligently designing a speed filter used by a teenage driver who recorded speeds of more than 100 miles per hour before she crashed her Mercedes-Benz and severely injured another driver, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.
Snapchat may be liable—even though the teenager intentionally misused the product, even though Snapchat warned against using the speed filter while driving, and even though the teen was not the plaintiff in the lawsuit, the state supreme court said.
A manufacturer’s duty to design a reasonably safe product extends to people injured by a third party’s intentional misuse of a product, the court concluded.
Law360 and Law.com had coverage of the March 15 opinion, which reversed the Georgia Court of Appeals.
The 19-year-old Snapchat user, Christal McGee, had used the speed filter before the 2015 crash to record her real-life speed on a photo or a video that could be shared with other Snapchat users. She pleaded no contest in May 2018 to a charge of serious injury by vehicle.
The injured driver and his wife, Wentworth and Karen Maynard, had alleged that Snapchat knew that other drivers were using the speed filter while driving at more than 100 miles per hour and knew of at least one other instance in which a driver using the filter while speeding had caused a crash. They also alleged that Snapchat continued to update the app after it learned that its product was being misused.
“Given these allegations, we cannot say as a matter of law at the motion-to-dismiss stage that the Maynards could not introduce evidence that, when designing the speed filter, Snap could reasonably foresee that the product’s design created a risk of car accidents like the one at issue here,” the court said.
Snapchat removed the speed filter in June 2021, lawyers for the plaintiffs told Law360 and Law.com.
The court remanded the case to the Georgia Court of Appeals to determine whether the product’s design was a proximate cause of Wentworth Maynard’s injuries.
ABAJournal.com: “Maker of Snapchat can be sued for speed filter used by youths before fatal crash, 9th Circuit rules”