Tornata al primo giudice la questione californiana sulla pericolosità di Speedfilter di Snapchat, la risposta è positiva

Continuano le decisioni sulla pericolosità dell’applicazione  <Speedfilter> di Snapchat: v. ad es. mio post sulla decisione di appello californiana 04.05. 2021. che aveva negato il safe harbour trattandosi di causa di negligennce.

Tornata la causa al primo giudice, viene decisa con sentenza 31.03.2022,  n° CV 19-4504-MWF (KSx) , Carly Lemon c. Snap inc.

Per la corte c’è negligenza nel design dell’applicaizione perchè induce a correre troppo in auto:  soprattutto solleticando la psiche degli utenti laddove propone trofei/premi non meglio identificati che vengono manifestati solo dopo l’evemtuale vincita:

<<The FAC alleges that the design of the Snapchat app rewards users by awarding  trophies for using the Snapchat app in particular ways that are unknown to the users until they actually obtain such trophies. (FAC ¶ 27). The FAC also alleges that the Speed Filter allows users to record the speed at which they are traveling and display  that speed over a photo or video of themselves that they can share on social media. (Id. ¶ 25). Finally, the FAC alleges that Plaintiffs used the Speed Filter within minutes of  the accident. (Id. ¶ 70).
The Court is satisfied that these three allegations, accepted as true, are sufficient
to allege causation premised on the theory that the Speed Filter’s design encouraged . Plaintiffs to drive at dangerous speeds.

If Snapchat users are seeking to obtain an unknown trophy associated with using the Speed Filter, it is plausible that they would seek this trophy by increasing their speed — the only metric recorded by the Speed Filter.
Even if there were no reward system whatsoever, the basic design of the Speed
Filter itself appears to encourage reckless driving. There is realistically no purpose for the Speed Filter other than to encourage users to travel at high speeds and record themselves doing so. Defendant’s argument that users will use the Speed Filter “safely while walking, jogging, or riding a train, boat, or Ferris wheel” (Motion at 3) is highly  implausible – let’s say it’s the arguments not the allegations that run afoul of the  Twombly and Iqbal argument. It is common sense that adding a speed-sharing feature to a social media application used predominantly by minors and young adults would  encourage such users to record themselves while driving at high speed>>

Inoltre, <<with respect to the second point, the Court disagrees with the superior court’s
approach because it focused on whether the Speed Filter contained an express
incentive to speed and ignored the incentives inherent in the Speed Filter’s design.
The superior court apparently was persuaded that, without an express incentive to drive
recklessly, individuals would use the Speed Filter safely as a passenger on a ferry,
train, or airplane. In doing so, the Maynard court essentially treated Snap as a
publisher or speaker, rather than a product manufacturer — the exact approach that the
Ninth Circuit has warned against here. (Ninth Circuit Opinion at 10–12 (“the Parents’
amended complaint does not seek to hold Snap liable for its conduct as a publisher or
speaker”). Indeed, the Maynard court treated the plaintiffs’ claim as a negligent
advertising claim rather than a negligent design claim, relying explicitly on Ely v.
General Motors Corp., which held that an auto manufacturer was not liable for
encouraging reckless driving by advertising that a car could go up to 150 miles per
hour. 927 S.W. 2d 774, 782 (Tx.Ct.App. 1996).>>

Nè la pericolosità viene meno per la possibilità di molteplici diversi usi.

Inoltre è ravvisata la causalità tra il difetto progettuale e il fatto dannoso verificatosi: <<The causal connection between the Speed Filter and the speeding accident is strong given that the accident occurred while the Plaintiffs were using the Speed Filter for the exact purpose for which it appears to have been designed: to record the user traveling at excessive speeds>>

(notizia e link alla sentenza dal blog del prof. Eric Goldman)

la Corte Suprema della Georgia sulla vicenda “Speedfilter” di Snapchat

Prosegue la lite sulla pericolosità dell’applicazione Speed Filter di Snapchat, su cui v. già  mio post 19..05.2021.

Interviene la Corte Suprema della Geogia con sentenza 15.03.2022, S21G0555, MAYNARD et al. v. SNAPCHAT, per dire che Snapchat ha un dovere di progettare le applicazioni tenendo conto dei rischi prevedibili producibili a carico degli utenti e che in particolare lo aveva anche in relazione a qhllo poi concretatosi in danno nella vicenda de qua (aver favorito l’eccessiva velocità e la distrazione dell’utente che vuole farsi riprendere mentre guida).

Si tratta in pratica di una precisazione sulla diligenza che avrebbe dovuto essere tenuta dal produttore in fase progettuale.   La SC non si sofferma invece sugli altri elementi della fattispecie di responsabilità (aquiliana) : violazione, nesso di causa, danno.

<<Similarly, under our decisional law, when designing a product,
a manufacturer has a duty to exercise reasonable care in “selecting
from among alternative product designs” to “reduce[] the
[reasonably] foreseeable risks of harm presented by [a] product.
>>, p. 8.

<<A breach of a duty constitutes a proximate cause of an injury
only if the injury is the “probable” result of the breach, “according to
ordinary and usual experience,” as opposed to “merely [a] possible”
result of a breach, “according to occasional experienc
>>, p. 13

<As shown by the above discussion, considerations regarding
foreseeability are intertwined with questions of duty, breach, and
proximate causation in negligent-design cases. When determining
whether a manufacturer owes a decisional-law design duty with
respect to a particular risk of harm posed by a product, the question
is whether that particular risk was reasonably foreseeable.
>>, p. 15

<<only reasonably foreseeable risks of harm posed by a product trigger a manufacturer’s duty to use reasonable care in selecting from alternative designs under our decisional law. See Jones, 274 Ga. at 118. Applying that standard,
the Maynards adequately alleged at the motion-to-dismiss stage
that Snap owed Wentworth a design duty with respect to the
particular risk of harm at issue here – namely, injury to a driver
resulting from another person’s use of the Speed Filter while driving
at excess speed.
>>, p. 15-6.

Specificamente i Maynards (gli attori) avevano allegato <<that Snap could reasonably foresee that its product design created this risk of harm based on,
among other things, the fact that Snap knew that other drivers were
using the Speed Filter while speeding at 100 miles per hour or more
as part of “a game,” purposefully designed its products to encourage
such behavior, knew of at least one other instance in which a driver
who was using Snapchat while speeding caused a car crash, and
warned users not to use the product while driving. The Maynards
further alleged that, “[o]nce downloaded, Snapchat’s software
continues to download and install upgrades, updates, or other new

features” from Snap, meaning that the Maynards may be able to
introduce evidence showing that Snap continued developing its
product and released new versions of the software between the
initial launch of the Speed Filter and the date of Wentworth’s
accident, after obtaining real-world information about how the
Speed Filter was in fact being used. 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,
triggering a duty for Snap to use reasonable care in designing the
product in light of that risk. See Collins v. Athens Orthopedic Clinic,
P.A., 307 Ga. 555, 560 (2) (a) (837 SE2d 310) (2019) (noting that a
motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim cannot be granted
unless “the plaintiff would not be entitled to relief under any state
of provable facts asserted in support of the allegations in the
complaint and could not possibly introduce evidence within the
framework of the complaint sufficient to warrant a grant of the relief

sought” (punctuation omitted)); see also Lemmon v. Snap, Inc., Case
No. CV 19-4504-MWF (KSX), 2019 WL 7882079, at *7 (C.D. Cal. Oct.
30, 2019) (holding that plaintiffs asserting a car-crash-related
wrongful-death claim against Snap “sufficiently alleged a duty”
owed by Snap because the plaintiffs’ allegation that “[car] accidents
ha[d] occurred as a result of users attempting to capture [a 100
m.p.h.] Snap” as part of a “game” prevented the court from
“determin[ing] that the harm from the Speed Filter was not
foreseeable as a matter of law”). Cf. Sturbridge Partners, Ltd. v.
Walker, 267 Ga. 785, 787 (482 SE2d 339) (1997) (“[E]vidence of the
prior burglaries was sufficient to give rise to a triable issue as to
whether or not Sturbridge had the duty to exercise ordinary care to
safeguard its tenants against the foreseeable risks p osed by the
prior burglaries.”)
>>, p. 17-18.

E poi: << a manufacturer’s design duty for purposes of a
negligent-design claim extends to all reasonably foreseeable risks
posed by a produc
>>, p. 20.

Naturalmente il vero problema è il caso di un uso totalmente improprio: deve risponderne il produttore? cioè deve tenerne conto quando progetta il prodotto?

<<Contrary to the opinion of the Court of Appeals majority,
our decisional law does not recognize a blanket exception to a
manufacturer’s design duty in all cases of intentional or tortious
third-party product misuse. Nevertheless, we emphasize that
intentional or tortious third-party misuse may be an important
consideration in determining whether a manufacturer owes a
decisional-law design duty in a particular case, whether the
manufacturer breached that duty, and whether the manufacturer’s
breach was a proximate cause of the resulting injury. 

As in other areas of the law where a defendant’s duty extends only to reasonably
foreseeable risks, the likelihood and nature of a third party’s use of
a product may be relevant in determining whether the particular
risk of harm from a product was reasonably foreseeable, and thus
whether a manufacturer owed a decisional-law design duty to avoid
that risk in a particular ca se. Cf. Doe v. Prudential-Bache/A.G.
Spanos Realty Partners, L.P., 268 Ga. 604, 605-606 (492 SE2d 865)
(1997) (concluding that, although “ questions of foreseeability”
underlying a landlord’s “duty to protect tenants from the
[foreseeable] criminal attacks of third parties” are “generally for a
jury,” the evidence of foreseeability on summary judgment could not
support a finding that the landlord owed a duty to the victim of a
criminal attack). Third-party product use may also be relevant in

determining whether a manufacturer breached its design duty if, for
example, danger from such use was so unlikely as to render
reasonable a manufacturer’s decision not to address it. See Banks,
264 Ga. at 736 n.6 (1) (noting that a relevant factor in the risk-utility
analysis is the likelihood of a danger). Finally, the likelihood and
nature of a third party’s tortious product use may be relevant in
determining whether a manufacturer’s breach can be considered a
proximate cause of the injury or whether, under the doctrine of
intervening causes, the third party’s conduct should be deemed the
sole proximate cause of the injury. See Johnson, 311 Ga. at 593
>>, pp. 29-31.

Si v. da noi la corrispondente disciplina fornita dall’art. 117 cod. cons., secondo cui

<<Un prodotto e' difettoso quando non offre la sicurezza che ci si
puo'  legittimamente  attendere tenuto conto di tutte le circostanze,
tra cui:
    a) il  modo in cui il prodotto e' stato messo in circolazione, la
sua  presentazione, le sue caratteristiche palesi, le istruzioni e le
avvertenze fornite;
    b) l'uso   al  quale  il  prodotto  puo'  essere  ragionevolmente
destinato  e  i  comportamenti  che, in relazione ad esso, si possono
ragionevolmente prevedere;
    c) il tempo in cui il prodotto e' stato messo in circolazione.
  2.  Un  prodotto  non puo' essere considerato difettoso per il solo
fatto  che un prodotto piu' perfezionato sia stato in qualunque tempo
messo in commercio.
  3.  Un  prodotto  e'  difettoso  se  non offre la sicurezza offerta
normalmente dagli altri esemplari della medesima serie.

Si noti spt. la lettera b), naturalmente.

(notizia e link alla sentenza dal blog del prof. Eric Goldman)

“Speed filter” di Snapchat tra negligenza e safe harbour ex § 230 CDA

La funzione Speed Filter di Snapchat permette di registrare le velocità tenuta dal veicolo e inserirla in una fotografia (per successivo posting).

Naturalmente farlo mentre si guida  è pericolosissimo.

In un incidente causato proprio da questo e dall’alta velocità, il danneggiato cita in giudizio l’altro conducente e Snapcht (poi: S.) per negligence.

S. si difende anche con l’invocazione del safe harbour ex § 230 CDA, unico profilo qui considerato.

In primo grado l’eccezione viene accolta. Si v. IN THE STATE COURT OF SPALDING COUNTY STATE OF GEORGIA, 20.01.2017, file n° 16-SV-89, Maynard v. McGee.Sanapchat.

Il ragionamento condotto dal giudice non è molto comprensibile. Il § 230 chiede infatti che si tratti di informazione proveniente da terzi e che si consideri il provider come “publisher or editor”: ma nessuno dei due requisiti ricorre qui.

Infatti in appello questo capo di sentenza viene riformato.

la Court of Appeals of Georgia chiarisce che i casi invocati per fruire del § 230 CDA (Barnes , Fields, Backpage) riguardano tutti fattispecie di danno provocato da post di utenti terzi.  Nel caso in esame, al contrario, <there was no third-party content uploaded to Snapchat at the time of the accident and the Maynards do not seek to hold Snapchat liable for publishing a Snap bya third-party that utilized the Speed Filter. Rather, the Maynards seek to hold Snap chat liable for its own conduct, principally for the creation of the Speed Filter and its failure to warn users that the Speed Filter could encourage speeding and unsafe driving practices. Accordingly, we hold that CDA immunity does not apply because there was no third-party user content published>> ( Corte di Appello della Georgia, 5 giugno 2018, A18A0749. MAYNARD etal. v. SNAPCHAT, INC., p. 9-10 ). Affermazione esatta.

Tornata in primo grado, la causa prosegue solo in punto di negligenza extracontrattuale: secondo il danneggiato, S. avrebbe dovuto prevedere la pericolosità del servizio offerto agli utenti e avvisarli adeguatamente (in pratica: da prodotto difettoso).

Rigiunta in appello solo sulla negligence, la Corte afferma che non c’è responsabilità di S. dato che, da un lato, <there is no “general legal duty to all the world not to subject others to an unreasonable risk of harm>, e, dall’altro, non c’è una special relationship che giustifichi un dovere di protezione, p. 6.  In breve <Georgia law does not impose a general duty to prevent people from committing torts while misusing a manufacturer’s product. Although manufacturers have “a duty to exercise reasonable care in manufacturing its products so as to make products that are reasonably safe for intended or foreseeable uses,” this duty does not extend to the intentional (not accidental) misuse of the product in a tortious way by a third party>, (Corte di Appello della Georgia 30.10.2020, n° 20A1218. MAYNARD et al. v. SNAPCHAT, INC., DO-044,  p. 7)

C’è però giurisprudenza contraria sull’invocabilità del § 230 CDA. Per una sentenza che in un caso uguale (preteso concorso dello Speed Filter di Snapchat alla causazione dell’incidente stradale) spiega in dettaglio tale invocabilità, vedasi  US District Court – Central District of California, 25.02.2020, Carly Lemmon v. Snapchat, n° CV 19-4504-MWF (KSx) , sub III.B.

Questa Corte segue la tesi per cui <<other courts have determined that CDA immunity applies where the website merely provides a framework that could be utilized for proper or improper purposes by the user. See, e.g., Carafano v., Inc., 339 F.3d 1119, 1125 (9th Cir. 2003) (CDA immunity applies to a dating website even though some of the content was formulated in response to the website’s questionnaire because “the selection of the content was left exclusively to the user”) (emphasis added); Goddard v. Google, Inc., 640 F. Supp. 2d 1193, 1197 (N.D. Cal. 2009) (CDA immunity applies where the plaintiff alleged that Google’s suggestion tool, which used an algorithm to suggest specific keywords to advertisers, caused advertisers to post unlawful advertisements more frequently)>>, p. 11.

E applicando al caso specifico,  conclude che <<the Speed Filter is a neutral tool, which can be utilized for both proper and improper purposes. The Speed Filter is essentially a speedometer tool, which allows Defendant’s users to capture and share their speeds with others. The Speed Filter can be used at low or high speeds, and Defendant does not require any user to Snap a high speed. While Plaintiffs allege that some users believe that they will be rewarded by recording a 100-MPH or faster Snap, they do not allege that Snap actually rewards its users for doing so. In fact, when a user first opens the Speed Filter, a warning appears on the app stating “Please, DO NOT Snap and drive.” (RJN, Ex. A). When a user’s speed exceeds 15 m.p.h., another similar warning appears on the app. (RJN, Ex. B). While a user might use the Speed Filter to Snap a high number, the selection of this content (or number) appears to be entirely left to the user, and based on the warnings, capturing the speed while driving is in fact discouraged by Defendant.>>, p. 11 .

Il punto però è che il § 230 CDA richiede che la responsabilità derivi da informazione proveniente da terzo rispetto all’internet provider invocante il safe harbour: il che non ricorre nelle azioni basate sull’uso di Speed Filter.

Notizia dei casi presa dal blog di Eric Goldman.